Thursday, January 8, 2009

DRM - at last some enlightenment!

It's taken a while, but the music industry seems at last to be developing a measure of common sense. They are dropping all their restrictive and totally counterproductive DRM controls from recorded music.

They have acknowledged that consumer behavior which everyone, including them, regarded as innocent in the analogue world - such as taping, compiling, lending, etc - is innocent in the digital world as well.

They have recognised that the best and only protection for their investments is to create business models that treat consumers fairly and with respect, and don't bully, cajole, threaten and scare them.

We've been a long time in the throes of the digital transition, as content producers of all types have invariably acted timidly, frozen in the headlights. Technology has shifted the power balance in favor of the consumer, and the full implications of this are still rumbling through the old established empires.

Movie and TV producers still don't get it. Their territorially based international release schedules, for example, are dynasaurian, and are now of course hugely ignored by savvy gen y'ers as they should be.

Book publishers are still struggling with the transition, and still investing far too much money and hope in DRM protections. Those scary consumers just can't be trusted!

In a few years, hopefully, we'll be over these transition pains and living confidently in a content world where consumer choice and satisfaction are once again central and paramount.

For that's the only business paradigm that makes sense in the digital economy - being thoroughly customer-centric, not producer-centric or format-centric. It's a radical change if adopted seriously, and one most established organisations are finding it virtually impossible to accomplish. It requires creative destruction, a path rarely chosen voluntarily.

The headlights are those of a ten ton truck.

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