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Traditionally, the loudest anti-DRM voice has been the radical “copy-left” movement, a group of advocates who focus primarily on consumer rights. But executives in the broader digital music ecosystem — such as Yahoo Music general manager David Goldberg and eMusic CEO David Packman — are taking labels to task with a more business-oriented argument.
DRM, they say, simply forces consumers to buy hardware with proprietary technology that enriches software companies rather than artists or labels.
The conversation has heated up now that Microsoft is preparing to enter the race with another closed system as part of its Zune strategy. Once Zune is launched, there will be two large, deep-pocketed digital services offering music that is not only incompatible with each other, but also with the many other digital music devices and services already in existence.
“That doesn’t sound like a very exciting future to me,” Packman said during a recent panel appearance at the Digital Music Forum West conference in Los Angeles. “There’s no way you can say with a straight face that that’s something consumers want. This has to get solved for the industry to grow.”