In the tired illegal downloading debate, there are few things the different sides can agree on. Is it stealing? Is it moral? Does it actually affect sales? Does it hurt the artists? One thing I think everyone can agree on (including the RIAA) is the need for a new distribution model. DRM (Digital Rights Management) isn’t really stopping anyone from pirating music right now.
It took the film industry a long time to embrace and make obscene profits from the VCR and eventually DVDs. As technology moves forward, so must the entertainment industry, and that includes record companies.
Here are a few ideas on how they can still make money and not prosecute downloaders or impose DRM on legitimate customers:
- Include “advertisements” in the songs themselves, much the way Hollywood has product placement in its movies.
- Flood filesharing seeds with low quality or screwed up versions of songs.
- Set up official download sites that are attractive, easy to navigate, full of high-quality downloads, and funded by advertisements.
In other words, make money the same way TV does. If people feel entitled to getting stuff “for free,” bombard them with advertising. I may be old-fashioned, but I still like browsing through a record store and picking out CDs.