February 26, 2006 — Speaking at the Music 2.0 conference in Los Angeles on February 23, Yahoo Music's general manager Dave Goldberg startled listeners with a statement probably never previously heard from the head of a for-pay digital music service:At least one major online Music bigwig agrees with me! Since the advent of the CD era, one of the biggest gripes consumers have had is that they don't get more for their money, they get less.
"DRM is not a consumer value proposition, it’s a consumer cost," said Goldberg. "It creates a nice barrier of entry for the tech companies, rather than something that’s beneficial to labels, artists, or consumers."
While Gold berg was talking mainly about the more recent lawsuits against P2P downloaders we all know that with the obvious price point change brought about by a new medium, the major distributors through that they could simply transfer the old LP format music onto CD's and make a killing at their customers expense. However they were called to task then, mainly by classical music lovers. Every major review magazine noted that the CD medium was designed to carry almost 80 minutes of music and in most cases, at that time consumers were getting only as much as would fit on a regular LP, that is less than 60 minutes.
The outcry from classical music lovers forced the major distributors into putting more music on their re-issues. They were also forced to re-issue old material at new price points. Sadly this practice has become less and less frequent especially on new releases where the average time is usually only around 60 minutes. Sixty Minutes may be enough for Walter Kronkite and Andy Rooney, but it sure isn't enough from music lovers paying for what is touted as a top valued medium.
Actually the former Distributor (purchased by Universal) PolyGram prooved this point when they released a full set of Beethoven Symphonies conducted by Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic at the unbelievable price point of $20.00 CAD. Copies flew off the shelf! PolyGram was impressed enough to continue offering deals like this. Later a ful Ring Cycle was released at the same price point! I doubt that many people had ever owned a full Ring Cycle before. I only wish the industry as a whole had learned form this instead of continuing with their Scrooge-like mentality.
Goldberg also tosses buckets of cold water on the idea that consumers will ever accept a subscription fee for access to distributor's catalogue. I have to agree with him. Who wants to pay each year, or month for access to something you know you will be using the rest of your life?
Thanks to Groklaw for pointing me to this story!