Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Nokia and Universal. Jen and Brad. Jessica and Nick. Brit and Whatever. Who Gives a Rat's Ass?

So Nokia and Universal are getting together. Now that every music consumer in the world has had plenty of time to figure out what a DRM-laden, piece-of-shit, subscription music service looks like; now that everyone in the music-selling and tech businesses knows that consumers aren't interested in a DRM-laden, piece-of-shit, subscription music service; now that everybody knows that the only functional business model for paid music downloads is called iTunes – Universal and Nokia have combined their years of technical and marketing experience to devise a DRM-laden, piece-of-shit, subscription service. They think music consumers will be stupid enough to buy it because they gave it the double-entendre marketing monicker, "Comes with Music."

Guys. Listen. People have been sharing music for free for about 10 years. People are still sharing CDs. Your music is not copy protected. Some of your digital files are copy protected. That's it. We don't have to pay for a dog-damn thing. You can't sue everybody. You just can't. DRM is the technical equivalent of the toll booth on the William J. Le Petomane Thruway.

You can't make the music hard to copy. You can't prevent people from sharing the stuff freely. Read my lips: CAN Frigging NOT. What you CAN do is make it harder to use your music files honestly and legally. That means, it will be freely shared dishonestly and illegally. If you want to sell it to us honestly, treat us like we're honest. As long as you treat us like thieves, we're not going to do business with you. Apple trusts me. I'll give Apple my money for what they'll sell me.

Joining up with Nokia and adding a lame, transparent label to a DRM-laden, piece-of-shit, subscription service won't make money. It will fool a few techno-illiterate bozos, and piss off anyone who knows anything at all about digital music, which, with the popularity of the iPod, is a lot of people.

Full disclosure. I'm an Apple stockholder. I have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, Apple needs some competition in order to avoid complacency and arrogance. I'd love to see Apple get some real competition. I don't see any at all. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Zune. The empty set. Nil. Scratch.

On the other hand, it sure is fun watching my favorite company standing like Superman in a rain of bullets from the clueless. If the music industry is going to give Apple any competition, you're going to have to pull your heads out of your asses.

Click here for detailed instructions on how to accomplish that.

In case you haven't kept up with the news, subscription services aren't giving Apple any competition. Screwing the public is no longer a functional business model. The free ride is over, boys. You're going to have to become consumer oriented. Your other option is to watch your business go straight down the commode. Radiohead was the first major act to take their income from direct sales and cut you completely out. Do you think they'll be the last?

For the record (no pun intended), there was music before the birth of the first A&R guy. Mankind flourished. We can manage without you. Can you manage without us?

I think I ate too much fudge at the Christmas luncheon. Indigestion makes me cranky.