AfterDawn: Tech news

Consumers show preference for ditching DRM

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 11 Nov 2007 22:59 User comments (16)

Consumers show preference for ditching DRM U.K. online music store 7Digital has released figures indicating that consumers are showing their preference for DRM free music by purchasing four times as much of it as they do tracks with DRM. This could be big news for a recording industry reeling from increasingly lower sales number for their format of choice, the Compact Disc,
7Digital's numbers don't stop with analyzing DRM preferences though. The good news for audiophiles is that the public is also showing a preference for higher quality. Specifically they're seeing strong sales of MP3's encoded at 320kbps. Although this is still lower quality than a CD, let alone what's possible with formats like HD DVD or Blu-ray, it's an improvement over 128kbps files.

“Consumers are a lot savvier than some people think and overwhelmingly choose MP3 over any other format when given the choice. MP3 is the only truly interoperable format that works with the iPod, most mobile phones (including the iPhone) and all MP3 players," said Ben Drury of

“The MP3 format is also good for the music industry as a whole. As physical sales on the high street and online continue to drop, it is vital that labels find a way to increase digital album sales to make up the shortfall. In order for music industry revenues to flourish again, all four majors need to get on board and make music available to the consumer in the format of their choice,” concluded Drury, who is also deputy chairman of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

Source: Macworld

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16 user comments

112.11.2007 0:42

That might be nice and dandy but it doesn't go well with prevailing mantra of recording industry.

So lets just wait a day or two for a 'news' of another re-heated study made on behalf of the Studios, that will prove just the opposite.

212.11.2007 1:12

I don't download music music now but when I was I looked for music that has never been on CD only on vinyl. Needless to say the files were only encoded at 128K and 'ughh' joint stereo. Any of the members of this forum know that encoding at 128K and joint stereo sounds like crap. Most headphones aren't dynamic enough to hear it but even a 45 year old Heathkit tube amplifier with Radio Shack Minimus 7 speakers unmasks the lousy quality onf most MP3 files. When I convert CD tracks to MP3 I use Exact Audio Copy and Lame with the Razorlame GUI. I won't encode anything lower than 192K and normal stereo. Most are at 320K and normal stereo.

Needless to say with DRM in the mix I wouldn't bother to buy any songs I just do without. No music downloads of any kind, No CD purchases, and very few DVD purchases. Streaming music videos aren't a problem because there are many different stream rippers/downloaders available.

Just my $.04

312.11.2007 1:12

Deleted by poster

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Nov 2007 @ 6:23

412.11.2007 3:41

@ P51ride:

With a double post that's more like your 8 cents


I will not (attention media moguls... I said WILL NOT) purchase music that has DRM in it. I WILL NOT purchase music encoded at less than 320 bitrate.

I am not a pirate. I do not P2P any music, movies, tv shows or software.

I am a consumer who values my hard earned money and expects to be able to use my purchases on the devices I see fit, in the manner I see fit. This means if I want to play my music in the house, my portable player, my car, my office, my friend's house, on my mobile phone, or through my home media server I WILL do so.

I do, and will continue to, respect the notion that if I want to own something I will pay for it or I will do without it. However, until YOU begin to respect my rights to use my purchased products in a manner consistent with my rights of ownership you will continue to lose my business. Until you begin to offer me REAL choices by offering me quality downloads at fair and reasonable prices (taking into account the delivery method and reduced overhead by these methods) I will continue to abstain from giving you the benefits of my hard work-- i.e. my money.

With that said: If you offer me these things I will come back and do business with you. However, you could also get more of my business (and hence more of my money) if I was allowed to explore new artists risk free-- free as in beer. Yes, it is true that I may hear some new music and think "Ack" and promptly delete it. But it is also true that I may find something interesting that I otherwise wouldn't have tried and promptly go out and buy it (maybe only a track, but maybe the whole 'cd'). For instance, there IS ONE SITE that I will support with my purchases that offer me high bitrate music at VERY FAIR prices (granted you would argue on the fairness of their pricing scheme, but only because it's priced at the local economic level and by me outsourcing my purchase 'offshore' I can obtain the whole album for normally $3-$4 at 320 bitrate). When I do use this site, due to the pricing I normally buy the whole cd because I like to have the whole cd, and I also feel that something I may not like one day I may find I begin to, grow to, like after really giving it a good listening.

The people who you are afraid of (the TRUE pirates) are not stopped or hindered by your draconian measures and continue to avoid paying you money anyways. The only people you are hurting are those you do pay you for their product as well as yourselves by driving people like me, who would pay for your products under the conditions listed above, but instead do without because they do not want the product as advertised, as created, and as flawed by design as it is. By nor purchasing your products I am not hurting myself. I have many other options for listening to music-- OTA radio, satellite radio, music channels on cable (not MTV but the radio like channels), my friends extensive music collection and my own extensive music collection.

Yes by refusing to participate in your DRM schemes I may be 'missing out' on having more stuff but then that's just more money to give manufactures of other products I am interested in.

Allowing people to become exposed to new music only helps your business and the artists. Refusing to allow people to use the products they purchase from you in a manner consistent with normal and fair usage via DRM only hurts your business and the artists.

New business models experience growing pains. New business models may allow less scrupulous people to more readily obtain copies of these products without paying for them. Instead of swapping CD's and copying them from their friends or their friend's friends, they now can do so with millions of non-friends. Either way though the end result remains the same the only thing that has changed is the ease and speed in doing so. And it is true that some of these people may have otherwise purchased at least some of the products that they are currently no longer paying for. But technology, like time, keeps moving forward. You can fight it by throwing tons of money at it via paying for new forms of DRM-- which will be broken rather quickly-- or you can embrace it, and your TRUE customers, by providing products that these customers will benefit from and therefore embrace.

We all know that the current methods you are employing are pointless, consumer UNfriendly and only interfere with the very people you are relying on as a business-- your paying customers.

The future WILL arrive and with it even more ways for consumers to use their purchased products-- many more ways than are even thought of today. New business models will arise, some will fail and some will succeed to varying degrees. Artists will continue to create their art because that is what artists do. Those who enjoy these arts will continue to support these artists through these new business models and through live venues and other products.

The only questions are: How much growing pains will you have to endure during these transitions. How much money are you going to throw away by treating your customers like pirates, not providing a product they desire or can truely use, on useless and pointless DRM schemes, and on customers who would buy your products except for the reasons already stated. And will you still be around when these new business models are the norm.

512.11.2007 5:06

And in other news Sony says "bend over and lube up for our new propertarian format that will save the industry"

or is it, to just sell everyone a licence to increase revenue like we saw with the psn release of warhawk 1 licence per account making your cohabiters PIRATES.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Nov 2007 @ 9:02

612.11.2007 6:22

Apologies for the double post

712.11.2007 10:36

Originally posted by P51ride:
Apologies for the double post

aww man you dont have to apoligizes it happens to the bst of us!!:0

DRM will never get my said before i want to choose where i want to hear the music or song i purchased...i dont want them to still have control over it since i bought it..just freedom of where to hear it will get my money..

812.11.2007 11:00

Originally posted by P51ride:
Apologies for the double post
I was just having fun man :-)

do it myself at times.

912.11.2007 11:23

@P51ride. Mp3 is better encoded with a variable bit rate and not a constant bit rate. Thought I would share that with you.
Sorry not hyjacking the thread.
My old ISP used to give away credits for downloading free music every month. It started with 2 choices, 1 with drm ( pretty cheap) and 2 without drm(bit more expensive) I think after 6 months, they dropped the drm deal and only sold drm-less music. The reason was never publicly given, but most people knew why!! If I can remember rightly this was the same time where you could sign-up for a free trial with legal mp3 downloads, such as napster, and all the downloads you've managed to get in 2 weeks, then cancel your free trial.
Quality can be an issue of course, but how much depends on the person/audiophile!!! Me I am easily pleased

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Nov 2007 @ 11:24

1012.11.2007 12:53

They can keep their DRM. The only cds im buying are blanks.

1112.11.2007 18:07


The only reason I encode at a constant bit rate is my Creative Nomad Jukebox MP3 player kicks on VBR. The bigger files from a CBR don't bother me or the jukebox. It has a 20 gig drive, I have 730 gigs of internal drives in my computer, and 490 gigs external I did have two of them but a lightning storm took it out and me nearly with it about 2 months ago. I live in the lightning capitol of the world according to what I've heard over the years.

By the way don't worry about the thread. I look at it this way if we all pass on a little bit of knowledge the intelligence of the whole forum goes up.

Best Regards

1216.11.2007 9:20

I will disagree with you P51ride that 128K sounds like crap.

I contend you need a very good sound system and good ears to tell the difference between 125 BR and 320 BR. Many serious audiophyles contend that the difference between an vinyl output and a Lame VBR in the extream mode is 'transparent' to the human ear. Because the bit rate is variable the user has no control over the bit rate. It usually averages 220 for rock and roll much higher for non electric instruments.

I do have an extream old dinosaur sterio. The power amp can deliver 440 RMS/channel and speakers have a 4Htz to 26,000 Htz responce. The speakers take the first 100 watts just to load. I have a good enough ear to disearn a 125 BR from a better one on my good system but not on anything less. I only encode using the Lame VBR in the extream mode using the slow analysis.

With that said, I do not buy/down load 125 BR stuff. I buy CDs and rip them instead of buying crap!

duckNrun, as always, you are on the money!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 16 Nov 2007 @ 10:32

1316.11.2007 16:05

Joint stereo encoding is the biggest reason why some MP3's sound tinny at 128K. Joint stereo encoding. I found an explanation of joint stereo.

From :

MP3 Joint Stereo Encoding

Joint stereo is a method to save some bandwidth by encoding certain parts of the spectrum in mono (i.e. only once) for which the human ear has no directional hearing. These are very low and very high tones.

The bandwidth is saved by recording a wider sum channel and a narrower difference channel, where the difference channel does not contain these spectral components.

This works very well and produces excellent quality at 128 Kbit/s for most pieces of music. The Fraunhofer codecs, for example, use this method.

However, there is one drawback. Some music contains sounds that are deliberately delayed or phase shifted. Such effect boxes are called "flanger", "phaser" and the like. If you encode such music in joint stereo, you will have bad cancelling effects where the high tones appear and disappear all the time, destroying the good original sound. One old example is the accompanying guitar in Paul Simon's "Mrs. Robinson".

Other encoders, like Lame or BladeEnc, record both stereo channels entirely separately. They are free of these distortions. However, to reach the same overall quality, they need some more bits, i.e. at least 160 Kbit/s.

Thus you could try Fraunhofer at 128 Kbit/s first, then listen for any distortions and, if you hear any, abandon the compressed music and compress again with Lame or BladeEnc at 160 Kbit/s or more. But, as memory becomes ever cheaper, you might as well use Lame or any other good encoder with separate stereo and variable bit rate encoding from the start.

Another way out of the dilemma is to use MPEG-4 AAC, which simply has a better compression algorithm and reliably produces excellent quality at 128 Kbit/s or even at 96.

Well I guess as far as output power goes I'm low man on the totem pole. My biggest amplifier only puts out 40 watts per channel using 2 7868 tubes per channel. Its an old (44 years old ?)Sherwood S 7700. I've always loved the sound from tubes. I have some plans from a Glass Audio magazine to build a 170 watt per channel stereo amplifier but the tubes are used in low power (1000 watt) radio transmitters. I hope someday soon to have the funds to build it or have it built. The Heathkit amp I mentioned has only 10 watts per channel but can move the speaker cones of the Minimus 7 speakers through their entire 3/8 inch travel. Another small reason I use tube amps is that I'm running on the cheap. The only tube amp that I spent probably too much on is my Dynaco ST 70 and PAS 3X pre-amp. Luckily I purchased the two separately but it still cost over $ 700.00 for the two. Any audiophiles out there will understand about the versatility of this amplifier combo and all of the mods to improve the quality of the sound and improve its power. Right now the Dynaco is stock putting out 35 watts per channel and unknown peak power. Call me paranoid but any speaker rated less than 40 watts flat doesn't get connected to any of my amplifiers. Output transformers are too hard to impossible to find except scavenging them from another amp.

Best Regards

1423.11.2007 4:30

Apologies to the forum. I made a mistake and was banned for several days but the mods re activated my account.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Best Regards

1524.11.2007 17:54

...consumers are showing their preference for DRM free music...
"Another fact recently discovered is that consumers overwhelmingly enjoy breathing air instead of plutonium."

How much time & money did these idiots waste performing this "study"???
Quote: is vital that labels find a way to increase digital album sales to make up the shortfall.
...because it's inconceivable that these top-heavy corporations might DOWNsize or reduce their overhead in response to a dying industry.

162.12.2007 3:01

Consumers are a lot savvier than some people think and overwhelmingly choose MP3 over any other format when given the choice. MP3 is the only truly interoperable format that works with the iPod, most mobile phones (including the iPhone) and all MP3 players," said Ben Drury of
I think this says it all. People do not want complicated products they want to keep things simple remember music and movies are for lesuire and this is taking this a bit too far.

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