For years the RIAA has defended the use of DRM, much to the dislike of millions of honest customers who actually paid for their music. Now, in a shocking turnaround, the outfit seems to have come to the realization that DRM does more harm than good and has officially declared its death.
The digital music landscape is evolving continuously. Just two years ago RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol defended the use of DRM on digital music because customers would benefit from it.
“DRM serves all sorts of pro-consumer purposes,” he said at the time, without going into detail about the alleged benefits.
However, in the year that followed the numbers of consumers calling for DRM-free music increased and more labels and music services started to offer music without digital restrictions. Still, the RIAA was not convinced that there could be a future without it, and predicted a comeback for DRM last year.
Quite the opposite happened. Although DRM is still present in the majority of the legal music stores, most of the big players have decided to ditch it. Most importantly Apple announced in early 2009 that all music sold via the iTunes store would be free of DRM. This time even the RIAA doesn’t believe that it can be resurrected.
Jonathan Lamy, chief spokesperson for the RIAA declared DRM dead, when he was asked about the RIAA’s view on DRM for an upcoming SCMagazine article. “DRM is dead, isn’t it?” Lamy said, referring to the DRM-less iTunes store and other online outfits that now offer music without restrictions.
Update July 20: Yes, it seemed to good to be true and it is. We just learned the the RIAA never used the word dead in its reply to the reporter. Lamy told TorrentFreak that he only said that there is almost no DRM on (downloaded) music anymore nowadays. In other (our) words: it’s an endangered species, not extinct.
When the most vocal forefighters of DRM say so, it must be for real. Although this is the first time that the RIAA have actually said on record that DRM is dead, other players in the music industry have seen the light before them. Most notable IFPI, who said earlier this year that stripping DRM would “significantly boost download sales.”
In this we have to agree with them. All DRM has ever done is annoy consumers who actually paid for their music. No single piece of DRM has ever stopped anyone from pirating music, it’s quite the opposite as the music industry now realizes.