The copy protection user experience 10:08 on Saturday

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This could come as a surprise to certain people, but the era of the CD player will soon be over. It is being (and for many people has been) replaced by portable music players, universal optical disc players, fan-less computers with media playing capabilities, TV digiboxes with integrated hard drives, wireless music players which stream music to every room in your house, mobile phones, or any combination of these and other digital music devices.

Technology has changed the way we consume music. We now want to listen to music when and wherever we want, and therefore need to manage our digital libraries of music. We need to transfer music to devices according to where the device is available and move music from the devices to make room for other music. We need to backup fragile digital files and set devices up to stream music between each other.

The new listening habits enabled by new technology are all about a new, improved user experience. Having your 1000 CDs available everywhere, from home to workplace, in your car and your pocket, is such a superior user experience that no technological or legal copyright protection system can make people give that back.

The music user experience is about convenience, and convenience defines the perceived value of music for consumers. From the consumers’ standpoint, DRM systems and CD copy protection are all about inconvenience. As I argued before, dropping the value of music is obviously not in the interest of artists nor the record labels. To stay afloat music companies need to accept the new reality and adapt their business models accordingly.

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