You tell ‘em, Jim. The digital music wars have been somewhat stagnant over the years, with Apple, it’s iPod, and the lovely DRM movement. But, with the advancement of mobile technology brings new competitors to the game, and RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie is putting his BlackBerry product at the top of the revolt. In a great piece from the Globe and Mail, Balsillie discounts DRM and notes that BlackBerrys will dominate the multimedia communications device before another player joins the fray.
â€œApple has done us an enormous favour by saying you should expect music on your cellphone,â€ he said. â€œ[But] I think it’s 10 if not 100 times harder to do the communications aspect onto an MP3 player than to do the mass media player onto a communications framework.
I think we’ll absolutely nail it before some new entrant comes even close. You know, everyone’s brave in the locker room. Let’s get it done.â€
I think [DRM is] just going to break down with the normal proliferation of the Internet,â€ Mr. Balsillie told analysts and investors at an RBC Dominion Securities Inc. conference in Toronto. â€œIt’s going to be tough. I think [content providers] are going to have to shift their business models. But they will go down swinging.â€
…RIM’s decision to publicly criticize DRM won’t please the four largest music companies that sell more than 70 per cent of the world’s music. Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group Corp. and EMI Group PLC say the technology is essential for combatting online piracy.
But RIM’s position is one of several indications that the tide may have begun to turn against DRM. And it signals that RIM is not interested in joining the increasingly complicated world of proprietary DRM technologies, which include Apple’s FairPlay used to sell iTunes, a new mobile technology from Microsoft called PlayReady, and various offerings from phone companies that are trying to sell music to cellphone customers.