DRM and Variable Pricing of Songs.


Apple announced yesterday that Sony, Universal and Warner have finally joined EMI and will do away with DRM (digital rights management) allowing digital songs, once purchased, to be copied to other devices.  In addition, variable pricing was announced that will allow some songs to be sold for $.69, more popular songs to be sold at $.99, while the most popular, most desirable will retail for $1.29. Smart pricing idea, but I suspect it will only chip away at revenue erosion. The new pricing logic suggests people are more apt to buy a marginally interesting song at $.66 than at $.99. Can’t disagree.

My problem with all this – and Kid Rock agrees – is that if consumers are allowed to buy only one or two songs from an album then they are not getting the artist’s full intended experience. And if that becomes the case, listeners are less likely to become rabid, loyal fans.  And with ringtones allowing the purchase of 30 seconds of a song, we are deconstructing the art even further.  This whole deconstruction thing and new variable pricing scheme is dinging the music business more than the doofy record executives. It’s a case where technology is hurting the art and the artist. Peace!