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August 15, 2005
P2P Now Number 2
Back in June, NPD Group raised some eyebrows (including in this blog) with a claim that iTunes was the second-most popular music download site, surpassing many free P2P sites. Derek Slater commented that the NPD study was "worthless."
Well, NPD are back again, and their latest message is resonating with the RIAA. According to an AP story (here on SiliconValley.com) NPD are claiming that burned CDs accounted for a larger percentage of music obtained by fans than downloads did. The RIAA are, of course, pointing to this as a justification for more copy-prevention.
A very telling quote appears at the end of the AP story, where Virgin Entertainment Group International's CEO Simon Wright is quoted as saying:
If, particularly, the technology allows two-to-three burns, that's well within acceptable limits and I don't think why consumers should have any complaints.
And that, boys and girls, is the nub of the problem. The Cartel believes it should be able to extend its control past the sale of the product, past what the law might say, and into your and my houses and cars. Let's take a real-world example: my neighbors have two adult children that live with them. So that's four cars, and at least three CD systems in one household. How many copies of a given CD purchase should that family be allowed to make? None? One? Seven? And why does Wright think that my neighbors shouldn't complain if he makes it impossible for them all to enjoy their purchases?
By coincidence over on Reuters (story copy here on silicon.com) we read that "Legal music downloads [are being] held back by DRM." The gist of the story is that incompatible DRM systems (fingers pointing primarily at Apple and Microsoft) are somehow preventing consumers from downloading more music.
My first response is that this is a crock. I don't think DRM issues enter into anyone's minds when going to download music. ITunes is enjoying phenomenal success (what business wouldn't mind doubling its size year over year?) and Napster et al are sour-grapesing because their systems (which use the MSFT-promoted DRM systems) are lagging. Blaming it on the DRM is a smokescreen for having to admit "My customer experience sucks, the subscription model isn't working, and Apple are kicking my ass."
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