Anthony and I are at the Digital Music Forum East in NYC thanks to Dan Porter and Ned Sherman. It's one and a half days of panels focusing on the business side of the digital music industry; where it is and where it's headed.
Check out Anthony's recap of the first day. The most interesting panel was definitely The State of the Digital Union where there was some interesting debate regarding DRM issues and a great quote by Sony BMG's President of Global & US Sales:
DRM is all about letting the user do things
Anthony points this out and I totally agree. If DRM was executed so flawlessly, i.e. if I purchased a song I had full rights to burn it, load it, play it on all my computers etc while preventing rampant piracy, I would be okay with that. But that would require dozens (hundreds?) of competing companies to come together, agree on a standard, agree on a license, what constitutes fair use etc. Frankly, I don't think this is likely to happen in this decade. So what's the real world solution?
Plain vanilla MP3s (like eMusic) that let you do what you want with your music. Unsurprisingly, when the audience was polled (remember this audience consists of CEOs and directors of Warner, Universal, eMusic, RIAA, Zune, LiveNation etc) 73.2% agreed that labels won't be implementing DRM-free music by the end of 2007.
Greg Scholl, CEO of The Orchard, predicted the (further) split of the music industry into two: music and entertainment. Jessica Simpson, and other celebrity-esque entertainers and real music. Boy, I sure hope so.
Mozes is powering an SMS back-channel that is projected next to each panel to let the audience ask questions and comment. You can actually check out the live convos being broadcast at Mozes: Digital Music Forum East Channel.
More worthwhile reading:
- Wired's writeup of the show-stealing audience member who laid it out on the table in front of some of the big labels on stage and gave the perspective of a real musician.
- CNet's writeup of music executives general disdain for Jobs recent comments regarding DRM and the fact that Apple is in the hardware selling business not the music business (iPods are where they make big money, not so much iTunes).