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Wednesday, July 2

DRM Manifesto

As much as I read and think about this stuff, which is most of the time—awake or asleep, I have no clue how this great article skated by me for the last year. It is a great piece by Moses Avalon, the nom de guerre of the music industry vet who wrote the 1999 book Confessions of a Record Producer that laid out major label music contract evils in a slightly less bombastic manner than Steve Albini's famous Maximum Rock and Roll article.

Sadly, and as much as I wish it weren't true, I think this big ship has sailed, and mostly because most younger kids just don't care any more. All they know is free music and they've now been able to develop other priorities that don't include mowing lawns, cleaning pools and babysitting for music money. Of course there is a subset of cool kids who get the whole self-supporting indie mentality. They love their vinyl and they support their favorite artists. Their friends do not. For the kids who are file sharing, and that's almost all of them, stripping DRM makes no difference because the free-floating MP3s they're trading are already DRM-free. Even better, they're FREE free.

If there is a free champaign fountain flowing 24 hours a day anywhere you might be, would it make you feel better about driving all the way to my house and then paying $40 a bottle if I promise to uncork it for you first? Didn't think so.

Is it possible that the next generation—the kids now in elementary school—may feel differently? I can't (yet) see the future, so I suppose so, but I can't for the life of me figure out what titanic event would cause that shift back to such a monumental revaluation of music after more than a decade of freefalling erosion.

Here's to the cool kids.

And Happy Birthday Deborah Harry!

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