Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Every Mistake Imaginable and the Bum's Rush

Now that some time's passed, its easier to judge the full impact of the "Bum Rush The Charts" initiative. I've already reported on the results. Black Lab did show up on charts throughout the world, but it was fleeting. Check iTunes today and you won't find them at all.

I was hoping they might show up on the BBC Radio 1 download chart, but they didn't quite have the sales. All in all, though, I thought it an interesting and effective experiment. Perhaps if the goal had been to rush the charts for a week rather than a day, the impact would have been greater.

The big news this week is that EMI will be selling songs without DRM (digital rights management). Why does that matter? According to the RIAA, DRM is necessary to prevent people from stealing music. In reality, it has done little to deter theft. DRM has actually made digital music less user-friendly for the honest customer, and in some cases (think Sony root kit) caused actual harm.

In the industry, EMI is disparagingly known as "Every Mistake Imaginable" for their many missteps throughout the years. Perhaps being the least successful of the major labels gave them the courage to make the move to non-DRM sales -- after all, they had the least to lose.

Taking the two stories together, we have a market that's beginning to flex its muscle, and a major label that's making the first step to realistically respond to that market. Pay close attention to what happens over the next few months. This is one paradigm that's poised to shift!

- Ralph

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