Archive for the ‘drm’ Tag

“Try Before You Buy” Music Retail Model

I wrote last month that I’m a big supporter for the donation system because it lets the consumers decide how much an item is worth to them. With all the hype surrounding the (not-so-)new donation-based digital music distribution model being pioneered by Radiohead’s In Rainbows and Trent Reznor via Saul William’s Niggy Tardust album, there’s a lot of questions about what is the best way to guilt the listener into donating.

Many people I talked to ended up downloading In Rainbows and Niggy Tardust for free, and then went back after a few listens and punched in their credit cards. For Radiohead’s album, I paid $5 up front because I knew I was going to love it (and I was right). But for Niggy Tardust, I didn’t pay a dime, and I still haven’t made up my mind if it’s worth the $5, or if I’ll even keep it in my library (but I’ve only listened once).

If the record companies or digital distributors, like iTunes or Amazon, want to jump on the donation bandwagon, the system needs to be more structured. A good way would be to offer a free (or $1 upfront to cover bandwidth costs) one-week trial download, allowing the user to listen an unlimited amount of times during the trial, and then in a week choose to either delete it or donate a fixed amount or (preferably) whatever they choose. Nobody (except the RIAA) likes digital rights management (DRM), so perhaps the trial download will have DRM, and once the user donates, the DRM-free files can be downloaded.

So many people are pirating music anyway. This seems like a good step to getting consumers to pay for music again.