Jul 22, 2006

Jessica Simpson goes drm-less

Jessica Simpson's latest single is available drm-free on Yahoo. Wow! Yahoo Music's blog tells the full story.

"...we’ve been publicly trying to convince record labels that they should be selling MP3s for a while now. Our position is simple: DRM doesn’t add any value for the artist, label (who are selling DRM-free music every day — the Compact Disc), or consumer, the only people it adds value to are the technology companies who are interested in locking consumers to a particular technology platform....It’s very expensive for companies like Yahoo! to implement...(and) at the end of the day allow(s) you to burn a CD and take the DRM back off, anyway! And on the consumer end there is certainly some discount built into that $0.99 download for the fact that you can burn a limited number of times, can’t play it on your Squeezebox, can’t DJ it with your DJ software, and can’t make a movie out of it with iMovie? I certainly hope so. Un-DRM’d content is implicitly more valuable to a consumer."
On the pr stunt: Props to Yahoo for creating buzz for themselves and Jessica Simpson by creating an innovative idea innately worthy of news coverage, and thus getting attention. This is the way to go. Innovation equals free news coverage equals people talking.

On drm: Drm does add value to the artist and label. If my friend buys the Jessica Simpson song on Yahoo, she is going to share it with me and all her friends, thus preventing me and her friends from having to buy it ourselves. Jessica and her label lose out on that revenue. However, in this drm-free world, the mp3 is being passed around and shared, thus becoming a piece of viral marketing for the artist. And nowadays, artists are getting more creative in finding other streams of revenue: Britney Spears' perfume, Gwen Stefan's clothing, Mariah's jewelry..and let's not forget live concerts. In a sense, the mp3 songs are marketing these products. So, using this model, if mp3s are ads, with drm and paid-for music, we are paying to listen to ads.

Music is the ad, mp3 is the media channel and merch or concerts are the sources of revenue.

So what does that make radio? One giant commercial supported by revenue from commercials. Using the model I am positing, lables should be paying radio stations to play their songs, which are ads for products and the real ads should be stripped out completely.

On Podcasting: I've said similar things about podcasters: their shows are ads for their talent, not shows they should try to generate revenue directly from. Let your ads (your episodes) pass virally and sell yourself (talented producer) as the product. (Source)

PS: The personalization of Jessica Simpson's song reminded me of a past project I created.

Mark Baratelli: myspace, blog

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