When Sony BMG became the last major label to sell DRM-free tracks, we all hoped the consumer-hostile technology would soon be dead and forgotten – at least for the music industry. According to RIAA’s David Hughes, however, news of DRM’s death has been greatly exaggerated and in fact it is poised to make a comeback to make up for where it has fallen.
Of course, DRM still exists in iTunes – which is already the largest music retailer in the US – and a number of online music stores, but Hughes stressed out that consumers are to ditch per-track purchases in favor of subscription services and that’s why DRM will reemerge in a big way. He acknowledged, though, that a less intrusive form of DRM than what’s offered today is needed, but stopped short of giving any concrete solution.
One thing is for certain, people don’t like being limited on how they can use or where they can play their purchased songs. Legal issues aside, at a time when free unrestricted downloads are already broadly and easily available on peer-to-peer networks, restrictive DRM schemes pretty much guarantee customers will go elsewhere.