Reports are coming in from several spots that the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has declared DRM is dead. That comment is attributed to Jonathan Lamy, chief spokesperson for the RIAA and will be part of an upcoming SCMagazine article. The quote came in the form of a question that appears to be rhetorical:
“DRM is dead, isn’t it?
Well yes, Jonathan, it is. Even though your organization clung to it like mad and shoved it down the music-buying public’s throats, spouting bullshit statements that claimed DRM was somehow better for customers and that files with DRM would see “significant boosts in online downloads.”
But music-buyers don’t have to worry much any more. iTunes has said that 2009 will mark the end of DRM-crippled music in their Music Store. Amazon.com’s MP3 store has been DRM free since inception. Good news for music buyers.
But not so for audiobook buyers. The leading downloadable audiobook marketplace — hi, Audible — is still DRM riddled. Amazon.com — owner of Audible — sells downloadable audiobooks. A quick search reveals 39,609 titles available for download, but only 3,156 are in MP3 format. My assumption that the other 36,453 are crippled by DRM.
So rather than bitch, we’re doing something about it. We’re committed to DRM-free files. In the coming weeks, you’ll start seeing us offer — for sale — complete downloadable audiobooks in MP3 format. You’ve been turning to us for free serialized versions of audiobooks for five years now. We’ll keep that going on, as we see the value in helping our authors reach a wider audience by giving those versions away.
But for those who want to skip the serialized experience — which I love, by the way — and just buy an audiobook; it’s coming. Soon. And maybe that’ll help put more nails in the DRM coffin. For good.