But are consumers really receiving better value?
In Apple’s case, critics like Peter Eckersley of the Electronic Frontier Foundation contend that consumers actually are getting a raw deal by being charged a 30% premium to effectively buy back their rights. And while audio quality is improved, it still doesn’t match CD quality.
In fact, analysts like David Card at Jupiter Research say it’s “unlikely” that premium-priced DRM-free music will jump-start a new surge in commercial downloading, since most consumers don’t place a value on DRM freedom.
Mike McGuire, an analyst with Gartner Research, is among the digital music watchers who think it’s doubtful that consumers will necessarily recognize the incremental value that has been built through the years by such services as Rhapsody and eMusic.