last100 editor Steve O’Hear has written an informative and thorough overview of the digital music scene in 2007. Steve noted: “Ditching DRM, new mobile offerings, pay-what-you-want and other alternative business models – one word to sum up activity in the digital music space in 2007: experimentation.”
The post also predicts what will happen in digital music in 2008. Here’s what Steve expects to happen with DRM:
Citing the popularity of iTunes Plus, in October Apple slashed the price of DRM-free tracks offered on iTunes, and early reports suggest that Amazon MP3 has also been a huge success (making it the number three digital music store in just one month). It therefore appears that ditching DRM has to some degree achieved the dual aims of invigorating the marketplace for digital music and creating a serious competitor to iTunes. As a result, many are predicting that 2008 will be the year that DRM is ditched completely, as all the major labels come on board, and I think this will be true for traditional music downloads.
However, in another context, DRM’d music looks like it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future at least. Subscription-based services still require the use of DRM and may become more acceptable to consumers as broadband becomes ubiquitous, enabling our music collection to “live in the cloud”, accessible anywhere and anytime.