Jun 27, 2010

DRM - We're still talking about this in 2010? (Geek Challenge below)

Just got off the phone with a manager that we are working with on an upcoming tour. He wanted to know what Aderra does to "Lock Down" the music we record at live concerts. I told him we use the same exact thing that Universal (the artist's label) uses for DRM on their CDs. This mollified him for a moment until he caught on that I meant "nothing". Then is mind reeled. He hadn't ever considered before that DRM on digital music files was ridiculous given that CDs are wide open to be ripped and shared.

So then I told him about Rhapsody. I have a friend with Rhapsody who was annoyed with the restrictions on where and how he could listen to the tracks they supplied by subscription. I sent him to Radio Shack to pick up an 1/8" stereo to 1/8" stereo cable (I'm, guessing that ran him less than $5). Then I told him to run from his mp3 player out to a laptop and record everything he wanted to unlock into garageband. Ta da. Unlocked music.

Then I told him about the iTunes trick. Make a playlist of locked AAC files in iTunes. Burn it to an audio CD then rip the tracks from the CD as MP3s. Ta da. Unlocked music.

Then I told him about "secure" streams on NPR and other sites. Same old 1/8" stereo cable trick.

There is no way to create a file that you can listen to or watch and not have it vulnerable to being copied. (Here is my challenge, I'll provide 100 USBs, custom imprinted and loaded for anyone that can send me a digital media file that I cannot make shareable.)(and yes, your content will be on torrent sites) This is not about what a wicked hacker I am or or implied support of sites like the Pirate Bay, the point is that "locking" digital media content is senseless.

So as the manager I was speaking with began to realize that the fight against file sharing is futile he asked what why they had been wasting time on it for so many years.
The reality is that the people who will pay for your music will and those who won't, won't.
So really the only thing to do is make music people will invest themselves in both emotionally and financially. Worry about file sharing is a waste of time and energy. Finding a way to use file sharing to further awareness of your artist's music is well worth some thought.

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