Convenience Wins, Hubris Loses

by Volker Weber

Hello. My name is Ian Rogers. I’ve been building digital media applications since 1992, dropped out of a Computer Science PhD program to tour with Beastie Boys in 1995, and have been purchased by both AOL and Yahoo! in the ten years since then, with a stint running the new media department for a record label in the middle. Currently I work at Yahoo! Entertainment on Yahoo! Music. ...

While running “New Media” at Grand Royal I released the first day/date digital/physical release with At The Drive-In’s “Relationship of Command”. Thanks to EMI requirements (hi Ted! hi Melissa!) it was DRM’d WMA and we sold about 12 copies in the first month, probably all to journalists. Years later I helped Yahoo! build Yahoo! Music Unlimited, a Windows Media Janus DRM-based subscription service. Record labels for their part participated in no end of control experiments: SDMI, Liquid Audio, Pressplay, Coral, etc, and they continue to this day....

I’m here to tell you today that I for one am no longer going to fall into this trap. If the licensing labels offer their content to Yahoo! put more barriers in front of the users, I’m not interested. Do what you feel you need to do for your business, I’ll be polite, say thank you, and decline to sign. I won’t let Yahoo! invest any more money in consumer inconvenience. I will tell Yahoo! to give the money they were going to give me to build awesome media applications to Yahoo! Mail or Answers or some other deserving endeavor. I personally don’t have any more time to give and can’t bear to see any more money spent on pathetic attempts for control instead of building consumer value. Life’s too short. I want to delight consumers, not bum them out.

Repeat after me: DRM is bad for the customer.

More >


To define any lock-in and/or DRM "customer inconvenience" is right on the markt. Since I first came across this term by the Yahoo guys a couple of days ago, I regularly use it to explain the stupidity and short-sightness of such strategies in discussions... Thank you Ian.

BTW Yahoo seems to be waking up after a longer period of hibernation. They catch up on the support of open source projects, the fight DRM... Or am I wrong?

Moritz Schroeder, 2007-10-11

Germanic typo: "right on the mark" of course, sorry...

Moritz Schroeder, 2007-10-11

committed, not involved. Love the bacon. Thumbs up!

Armin Roth, 2007-10-11

Once in a time there were three songs I bought as digital music... I listened to them with acceptable equipment and got a headache of the artefacts.
I renewed my Windows as regularly. I became aware of the missing rights to play these songs again. And I deleted them with a smile on my face.

Maybe we should put some DRM on money to ensure as customers that it is spend by the concerns for useful purposes. ;)

Steffen Pelz, 2007-10-12

Another interesting new approach to protection of music:

Nick Daisley, 2007-10-12

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe