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March 15 2007

DRM and Flogging Molly

(Yes, this entry is backdated… I wrote it on the 15th in Word, but my cable modem was down, so I had no way to post it!)

I have talked about my love of Flogging Molly before. I was thrilled to hear the was new live EP coming out this week, with two unreleased songs (“Requiem For A Dying Song” and “Float”), I just wasn’t thrilled with the method of release… only on iTunes Music Store.

I understand the scale of economics here, it’s a fabulous idea in principle. Shorter lead time, no physical pressing, higher profit margin for the band, but then the customer is stuck with only being able to buy it with DRM (Digital Rights Management) included. Let me make this abundantly clear, this is NOT Apple’s fault, nor Flogging Molly’s, this clearly goes back to my good friends at the RIAA.

DRM is a draconian system of making sure ONLY the person who bought the music can play it. No loaning it to a friend like you can do with a CD, cassette, LP, 8-track (what, you don’t still have an 8-track player?!?), no, if you choose to go in to the futuristic world of buying music online, you best get used to only you being able to use it! There are many people calling for an end of DRM, including my Technology Hero, Steve Jobs… you know… the head of Apple?

In an open letter he wrote on February 6th, 2007 entitled “Thoughts On Music“, he called for an end to DRM, and barring that, for all the online music sellers to work together. Honestly? I think he wants it to just end. It’s a pain in the behind for everyone, it’s NOT going to increase piracy, if anything, it will increase sales. I haven’t bought anything at the iTunes store in ages because I don’t want DRM! I want to be able to slap the songs I listen to on any computer of my choice, on any player of my choice, and listen to it how and when I want. (Yes, I am aware of the extremely easy way to strip the DRM off the iTunes purchased songs, not the point of my post though)

DRM is a stranglehold on the consumers, nothing more. It is not a way to fight piracy. Do you really think pirates don’t know a way around something as silly as this? Of course they do! It’s their livelihood and they know how to defeat it without blinking an eye. To the masses though, those of us lacking either time, patience, ingenuity, or any other number of things, DRM hurts us, not the pirates. Let’s say you bought the new Flogging Molly on iTunes, due to DRM you can’t play it on your Zune. Okay, bad example, you shouldn’t have bought the Zune in the first place. Beyond that though, how is that fair? It’s not.

Steve Jobs, and other legit online sellers, are in a bind in that they can not get the rights to sell the music if they don’t include DRM. No DRM, no sales to consumers. However, consumers, such as myself, are avoiding purchasing the music because of the DRM. Remove the DRM, free up consumers to do with the files as they please, your sales of online music will go up. Yes, piracy may go up *SLIGHTLY*, but the increased sales from people who had previously been avoiding purchasing the music will far outweigh the new pirates.

And yes… I did give in and buy the Flogging Molly EP, and I love it… just wish it was DRM free.

Flogging Molly - The Complete Control Sessions



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