Progressive Music

More history being made this week for the music industry. First, NIN topped the Amazon MP3 charts with a CC licensed instrumental album.

Today, Apple promised to go DRM free on iTunes by the end of Q1 2009.

In October of 2006, I organized the first DRM protests in the states while a student activist in Free Culture @ NYU. A year later, we protested the midtown Apple store after Tower Records went out of business (Tower was our second target after Virgin Megastore in Union Square.)

A couple of months after the Apple protest, Steve Jobs wrote his famous anti-DRM letter to the music industry. Since then Apple has ostensibly been negotiating variable pricing and removing DRM entirely from the store. Jobs probably sacrificed the one-size-fits all $.99 price per song so that he could get DRM completely out of the store.

There are still things to be done, however, before victory is declared. The iPod supporting truly free formats would be nice (I’m becoming increasingly interested in collecting FLAC music), at least until the various patents controlling MP3 expire. Also, native CC licensing built into music stores like Amazon and iTunes would be nice too.

But as Voltaire said, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

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