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Stop to the Drm, the record companies are now cornered

Two months and then the music without Drm could become a reality common to all the big record companies. This is the prediction of Ted Cohen, a former EMI manager interviewed by the Reuters agency.

Two months, according to Cohen who now works for Tag Strategic, a consulting firm, would be the time it takes for Sony Bmg, Universal Music and Warner to understand how things are going for Emi, the first record company in the world to have taken the step. towards the elimination of the rights protection system. At that point they will take a decision which, according to some observers always quoted by Reuters, it will hardly not be the same as that taken by the British record company. "Publicly the record companies say they are just experimenting for now," says the agency, "but managers privately agree that releasing music without Drm is just a matter of time."

'They signed that agreement to please its shareholders who were worried about the rearguard position they have in the field of digital music' says another manager who prefers to remain anonymous referring to the agreement signed with Aple 'but Emi has now put all in trouble. According to Cohen Emi could have taken advantage of the opportunity to push Apple on the path of FairPlay's interoperability with other digital music players instead of aiming at the elimination of Drm. Apple, in fact, according to Cohen, not so worried about the problem of DRM as of the fact that in Europe under pressure from national authorities who want to open iTunes music to other players.

The record company that could give the definitive back to the protection of Universal digital rights which controls 30% of the music market. "If Universal followed EMI," Cohen says, "the others could only adapt." And Universal could be very close to releasing music without Drm, signing an agreement with Amazon and which will become effective from May, at least according to some rumors.

Apple for its part seems to be in a strong position and to have the opportunity to offer record companies a step in the direction taken by Emi. The opportunity would be offered by the negotiations for the renewal of iTunes contracts and, above all, by 80% of the digital music market that Cupertino controls in the USA. Having a dominant position in the Apple sector could push to have the "s" from Sony BMG, Universal and Warner to music without Drm.

Initially at the top of the agenda of the talks that are about to start and will last for most of the summer, there had to be issues such as an increase in the profit margins on the songs, incentives for the purchase of albums and a subscription music service , but now it seems that the negotiations with all the record companies will start precisely from the elimination of digital rights.