Elliot Buskirk from Wired News wrote a commentary on Zune and Microsoft's Play For Sure DRM scheme.
Elliot had great insights but he missed a fundamental observation that non-DRMed MP3 format music plays across all MP3 player platforms including iPods, SanDisk's Sensa players and virtually all digital music hardware platforms. In addition, all mobile phones in the next 18 months will have MP3 capabilities as a standard feature.
I suspect that hardware vendors were enticed by Microsoft with coop advertising dollars plus the promise of technology support for subscriptions and other marketing schemes. It is still hard to understand why many hardware companies fell for Microsoft's DRM promises only to find themselves being abandoned to the ash bin of broken and obsolete technologies.
On the idea of a SanDisk-type hardware manufacturer buying a Napster ~ That's like taking a sledge hammer and hitting your own head. Why would a smart person buy a package that leads them to a technological dead end? It's like buying a Microsoft Windows 3.1 and WordPerfect for your nifty little dual core laptop.
On the other hand, there is such a thing as masochism and maybe the digital music hardware companies are fans of this business lifestyle. I hope not.
After two days at the Music and Technology Bandwidth Conference, I am even more convinced that record labels will abandon DRM sooner rather than later. Labels have already seen the bad results of allowing one company to dominate the market, taking away all pricing power from both the labels and the buying public.
On a whole other rant, Music Gremlin just released what could possibly be the ugliest MP3 player on the market.
The business model seems to be a subscription system which is oppressive to labels, distributors and artists alike. Artists suffer in the digital market with the minuscule take from subscription-based services.
Another thing, whoever did the branding for this ugly beast must be hoping that no one remembers one of the world's ugliest car: the dreaded ugly AMC Gremlin or the dumb 1984 movie: Gremlins. My theory is that the AMC Gremlin was singularly responsible for the collapse of the American auto industry. I hope the Music Gremlin folks did not pay anyone to name this product.
Capitalism Done Right applies to all. We're going to unleash a GoodStorm on the digital music scene.