The anti-Digital Rights Management crowd may find some ammo in the final 2006 figures for digital music sales when they're released, with many industry experts saying sales were flat.
The recording industry has supported DRM as a tool to stop music piracy, but flat digital sales for 2006 may suggest that the measure is instead stifling growth, Reuters writes. Early projections that have digital music sales for 2007 struggling to hold 2006 levels, or even falling, have many industry experts suggesting that DRM is living on borrowed time.
The removal of DRM would also help the industry entice competitors to iTunes into the digital music space. Amazon is considering a service similar to Apple's iTunes, but wants the service to be DRM-free. MySpace is also in the final stages of launching a music download service that will sell DRM-free MP3s from independent and unsigned artists willing to sell unprotected music. If the service is a success, it would place further pressure on music labels to dump DRM.
"The majors…have got to capitulate, or they will continue to have a fractured digital media market that will slow down and stagnate," says Terry McBride, president of Canada-based Nettwerk Music Group, which manages Sarah McLachlan and Avril Lavigne, among others.