The DDRM (Drop-DRM) Debate rumbles on again. Now Deutsche Telekom’s MusicLoad service has thrown it’s hat in the ring, claiming that DRM issues account for three quarters of customer complaints and that DRM
“makes the use of music quite difficult and hinders the development of a mass-market for legal downloads.”
MusicLoad are no small fry. They are an important addition to the DDRM camp, and the most successful European ISP digital music store in Europe with a very strong share of the German market, to such an extent that Apple only recently felt confident enough to claim it held number one spot.
Of course MusicLoad actually have more cause than Apple to want the DRM interoperability debate resolved: at present they are (largely) not able to sell into the installed base of iPods. I suspect that the “why can’t I play my downloads on my iPod” is an irritatingly perennial question for MusicLoad’s customer call centre. Though MusicLoad should consider themselves relatively lucky compared to some of their European peers: Apple’s iPod accounts for a relatively smaller share of all MP3 player households than most other major European markets. For more details, clients read this report.
Rather than just waiting for the majors to change their tune, and unlike Apple, MusicLoad has taken the decision to sell music from some indie label artists in MP3 format alongside it’s DRM wrapped content, and has apparently enjoyed success. This is a smart strategy and would work well on a market level as part of a phased deployment and as a means of testing consumer demand, potentially allaying some of the majors fears along the way.