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Analyst Hears No DRM Death Knell

Scottsdale, Ariz. — Apple, MusicGiants, and eMusic are offering downloads of select songs free of digital rights management (DRM) restrictions, but don’t expect DRM to die or simply fade away, contends market research company In-Stat.

In fact, said analyst Mike Paxton, “As the creation of digital content expands, it is, in turn, fueling demand for more DRM solutions and content-protection technologies.” One such technology, dubbed forensic DRM technology, tracks end users of digital content, and it “will see much wider usage in the future.”

The DRM-free model, In-Stat continued, “will likely be viewed as a music-industry-only experiment, albeit one that will be closely monitored to see if a viable business model emerges.”

Earlier this year, Apple began offering songs from music company EMI in the unprotected AAC format, and soon after, MusicGiants became the first download site to sell unprotected music in WMA lossless with the debut of the Paul McCartney’s Memory Almost Full album.

Also earlier this year, Amazon promised to offer DRM-free music downloads in the MP3 format from EMI and independent labels.

For several years, eMusic has been making unprotected MP3 songs available from independent artists, including the likes of Paul McCarthy and Miles Davis.