DRM's Dead! Long Live... Dell?

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News Posted: Wed, Jul 30 2008 8:28 PM

The trend towards DRM-free music seems to be giving Dell the notion that the market's ready for another digital music player. They tried to sell MP3 players five years ago, but got washed away in the Apple iPod tsunami and gave up in 2006. There's a whiff of "me too" about anybody trying to make portable music players now; Apple's devices are so ubiquitous that people call any such device "an iPod" at this point. But Dell's hoping that by hiring an ex-Apple executive to oversee the  making of an inexpensive player that will play music from any vendor, they can make inroads into Apple's  iTunes/ iPod audience.

As we've noted before, the move to DRM-free tracks won't be enough to help the labels break the iTunes hammerlock on the digital music market. But it does open things up a bit for new entrants, whether they're distributors or hardware makers. While Apple is still a closed system -- only iTunes players can play iTunes tracks --  going DRM-free means that music purchased from stores like Amazon, or loaded onto players (presumably) like Dell's new gadgets can also be moved onto iTunes players. That is: the new services and players are at least partly compatible with Apple, which is something you couldn't say before.

Dell would offer a subscription service for their music catalog instead of a per-track purchase model, so in a way that's still a form of DRM. But you could still load music that you already own onto the device in addition to the subscription offerings, and you can purchase music from all sorts of vendors these days. It just might work. We hope they're smart enough not to make the player chocolate brown.

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kid007 replied on Wed, Jul 30 2008 10:07 PM
why do i think they would include another software into their computers, so now vista/xp/longhorn or whatever is coming from microsoft would have more processes/programs running? ha! oh wait that how they will make money!

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nECrO1967 replied on Wed, Jul 30 2008 10:37 PM
DRM free is a step in the right direction but do any of the subscription based services work? What I mean is are the profitable to the extent that Dell will be happy? As much as I hate Apple and iPods the per track system is relatively cheap and easy. In today's tight economy I think many people will see another monthly bill as too much. If I buy music I don't want to be forced to pay per month, just when I find a track I like and want to have it.

I used to carry a hammer in my computer tool kit. Just for fixing the packard Bells though.......

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ice91785 replied on Thu, Jul 31 2008 10:03 AM
Perhaps it would be in Dell's best interest to offer a "pay-as-you-go" plan along with a monthly plan -- this way you can either pay per track or you can spend $20 a-month and DL 23459823059 songs....

TBH I don't really see this taking off unless they have REALLY reasonable pricing... something like $0.10 a song or something

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nECrO1967 replied on Thu, Jul 31 2008 3:30 PM
My thoughts exactly on the pricing Ice. Although I think a pay-as-you-go service would kill the subscription plan.

I used to carry a hammer in my computer tool kit. Just for fixing the packard Bells though.......

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in 2 years everyone will be laughing about dells latest mp3 player....


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