The Mythical DRM Cure-All


JupiterResearch’s David Card reminds us, via his blog, that his research shows that a vast majority of Internet users don’t know or care about DRM issues:

I would buy more digital songs if I could copy or burn them without restrictions — 24% of US online adults

I would buy more digital songs if I could play them on any device or computer no matter where I bought them — 23%

Two caveats – the survey data is from 2005 (I checked, and Jupiter hasn’t revisited the issue since), and that same survey showed that people who were already online buyers are more likely to say that they care about DRM than offline buyers. On the other hand, my hunch is that many more consumers have since bought iTunes music and/or iPods since the survey was commissioned, and thus there are even more of them who are less likely to care about DRM. Remember, I’m talking about regular consumers, not the folks who know or care about concepts like Creative Commons.

But no matter how you slice it, the number of people who will change buying decisions based on DRM issues is mighty small. And keep in mind that the digital marketplace is getting more confusing for consumers, not less — there are now two prices, and two formats, on iTunes, but only for EMI tracks. Meanwhile Yahoo, Napster et al will sell Universal tracks without DRM, but not EMI songs. Etc.

See Also: Universal’s DRM Drop: Just an Apple Negotiating Ploy