DRM kills business

It’s all over the place today: German MusicLoad revealed that 75% of its customer support calls were about complaining around the problems created by the inclusion of Digital Rigths Management (DRM) in the MP3 files they sell.

Coming from a company that is living from the sale of legal MP3s, it has a lot of weight. Up to now, that was repeated in many circles, but the music major producers where denying it or downplaying it. Now, it comes from one of the inner circles.

We told you that DRM is annoying (or more) the legal-minded user who bought a DRM-infected file, but leaves the pirates able to plainly use the files in the most usual and natural way. More than one user decided to download the file from P2P just to get rid of the annoyance.

I have at home an “English patient” DVD that repetetively refuses to start in my Home Cinema PC (I don’t have any other DVD player). Maybe I should download a copy from BitTorrent, leave the DVD box on its shelf and watch the movie.

My suggestion is not “go and pirate!”, but it’s call to arms for the marketing departments of these music producers. The customers want music, they are ready to pay for it (look at iTunes and MusicLoad, to name two), but they don’t want the hassles of those protections. Being blind to customer needs is a doomed approach to business. Start listening and P2P will become less of a problem (being free is not an overwhelming advantage: Perrier is selling bottled water and does not complain about the virtually free water on tap).