Universal Music: Out with DRM, In with Google Android and Mobile

Photo (CC) lee leblanc. CNET has a terrific interview with Rio Caraeff of Universal Music Group’s eLabs. Caraeff is a new breed of record exec – the kind of people we’d actually want running the industry. He’s a software guy and a mobile guy. UMG digital chief on iTunes, DRM, and Android [CNET Digital Media] The record industry has clearly seen the light on DRM, so that’s not really news, except that now you can see them saying it in public (and I imagine there has been long-running internal lobbying from those in the industry who got it long ago). …

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Your Display Isn’t Authorized: DRM Flap on New Apple MacBooks

DRM on displays and projectors? Believe it. Apple, like many computer vendors, has added DRM to its new laptops in the form of HDCP (which, bizarrely, stands for “High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection”). This is doubly odd, because Apple cited technical restrictions of Blu-Ray as a reason for not including those drives on their machines – only to turn around and add restrictions to their own content on the iTunes store. It might not be worth mentioning at all, but it serves to demonstrate yet another disconnect between vendors and the way people actually use video output features on laptops. You …

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Will the Next Album You Buy Be Flash Memory? SanDisk Joins Major Labels, Big Box Retail, with slotMusic

Distributing music on USB sticks or removable flash memory is an idea various parties have tried for the last few years. The Creative Commons advocates at self-proclaimed “non-evil” indie label Magnatune sold USB sticks pre-loaded with ten albums in 2004; Barenaked Ladies had the nicely-named Barenaked on a stick. But to really make the idea (ahem) stick, you’d need some big distribution. And that’s what a new initiative backed by the major labels and massive flash memory manufacturer SanDisk promises to do. slotMusic.org | Press Release See also GearLog, which notes that SanDisk previously did a free promotional SD of …

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Apps Alone Aren’t Problem; Apple iTunes Lockdown Hurts Creators, Consumers

Out of sync: iTunes integration was a selling point early on. But at what point is Apple’s own innovation upstaged by their desire to control distribution through the iTunes channel? . Last week, Apple rejected a podcast management app because, to paraphrase Apple’s own policy, they want iTunes handling all podcasts for you and not any third-party apps. (Officially, “Since Podcaster assists in the distribution of podcasts, it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes.”) Over the past few days, that’s generated plenty of chatter on the blogosphere, mostly centering around technical and philosophical discussions of the way …

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Video History Lesson: Consumer Video and DRM at Dansdata

I think we’ve probably got a couple of years of tape-based video cameras left, but it’s starting to look like solid state is becoming a serious option for consumer use. So while we wait, Dansdata has a great history of home video, with a dose of DRM thrown in. Tivo is finally about to launch in Australia, which is great, though I’m happy with my XBox Media Centre. What are the web’s finest video geeks using for their media consumption?

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Metallica Attempts to Be Beloved Trent Reznor, Fails

Eliot Van Buskirk has, as always, terrific music coverage for Wired. The story this time: how Metallica’s Radiohead/Nine Inch Nails-style Internet release, free of DRM, seems only to make people angry. It gives a glimpse into how the Internet release could evolve over time, outside the aura of joy in which the latter two bands are enveloped. I can make the story short, though: In many circles, Metallica is no longer cool or never was cool. Lawyer make people MAD. Angry. Smash. (Apparently in addition to going after 60,000 pages of fans on Napster, Metallica doesn’t even like fan-made buttons.) …

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DRM Lessons: MSN Music Restores Authorizations Through 2011

Let this be a lesson to you, purveyors of online music. If you do DRM-lock digital music, be prepared to continue to support it well into the future, lest users rebel. Microsoft announced earlier this year that its MSN Music service, defunct now for some time and never terribly popular, would cease to function as of August 31, 2008. This would mean that people who bought tracks from MSN Music would no longer be able to authorize files to play on new PCs and devices. The only workaround: burn to CD and re-rip. Even on a relatively unsuccessful service, though, …

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Lala, Free Music Streaming, And Why Two-Tier Pricing is the Future

It’s clear that the new world of music listening involves more — more music, listening in more places, with more styles of music from more places in the world. So, naturally, it makes sense that we won’t pay per-album fees for everything we hear; even if you were addicted to your indie college radio station 20 years ago, that’s the case. (And I’ll be you didn’t buy everything you heard, though you probably bought some of it.) The question is, how to model those costs, so the people making and distributing the music make money. Make whatever argument you like …

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Stardock: Stop Blaming Pirates, Start Targeting Paying Customers

PC games — and even Windows customization utilities — make up a much larger market than music software. But in this parallel universe there have been echoes of the challenges facing music developers since the early days of PCs. Both have highly dedicated, niche audiences. Both face rampant piracy. Neither has the support of big business sales as the likes of Adobe and Microsoft do. Many of the customers use the products in their free time, rather than as tools that generate revenue. (Sorry, but it’s true.) Both have, let’s face it, customer bases who often don’t have that much …

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