Or is Hilary Rosen demonstrating a key policy/stakeholder concept we teach at TPP – “Where you stand depends on where you sit.”
After reading this post by the erstwhile head of the RIAA, complaining about (are you ready?) consumer lock-in/DRM in the Apple MP3 player, you’ll probably be scratching your head at the peculiar slant she’s taken (not to mention the weird gaps in her grasp of the technology): Steve Jobs, Let my Music Go. There have been postings on the pho list all day, but it’s hit Slashdot now, so I guess it qualifies for note here.
A sample from the posting:
Most every player device works at every one of these “stores” and it is pretty easy to keep all the songs, no matter where you got them, in a single folder or “jukebox” on your computer.
But not the iPod. Most agree it is the best quality player on the market even if the cheapest one costs a few hundred dollars. The problem is that the iPod only works with either songs that you buy from the on-line Apple iTunes store or songs that you rip from your own CD’s. But those other music sites have lots of music that you can’t get at the iTunes store. So, if you have an iPod, you are out of luck. If you are really a geek, you can figure out how to strip the songs you might have bought from another on-line store of all identifying information so that they will go into the iPod. But then you have also degraded the sound quality. How cruel.
I know that one might argue that I’ve drunk the Apple “Kool-ade,” but I can’t help wondering what she’s really up to here. Is she trying to convince people that the iPod embeds a somehow more constrained DRM system than a Janus-equipped MP3 player? Has she become a Microsoft stalking horse, attempting to help prize the iTunes music store share away from Apple? (see this Slashdot comment)
Because I can’t really grasp how the complaint she raises fits into any internally consistent perspective on digital music retailing. After all, is she really trying to convince us that the narrowness of the iTunes Music Store catalog is because the record companies think the DRM in the iPod is TOO strict? It seems to me that iTunes would be happy to carry more content — it’s that the record companies refuse to let iTunes carry it.
Maybe it’s the Kool-ade talking, but I think we should be look into this a lot more carefully before trying to read this as a change of heart on the part of Ms. Rosen. (another doubter)
(Note: A big first day for Arianna Huffington’s blog: see Slate’s comments here – Arianna’s Echo Park)
Later: See Ernest Miller’s thoughts over at CopyFight.