Thanks to Dan Porter and Ned Sherman, Taylor and I are at the Digital Music Forum in New York. The event consists of panels on all things digital music for two days, along with networking breaks and all the usual conference goodness.
The first panel of the day, “The State of the Digital Union”, was easily the best one. There was some healthy debate on DRM and discussion of Steve Jobs’ recent Thoughts on Music.
A quote from Thomas Gewecke (President of Global & US Sales of Sony BMG) sums it up well:
“DRM is all about letting the user do things”
Thomas and a few other panelists argued that DRM would work well, if the technology vendors cooperated and created inter-operable systems, so that the resulting DRM-protected audio files would work on all devices.
I wholeheartedly agree – it’s likely DRM would work great if that condition was met. Consumers would even embrace this technology, if it was properly implemented and presented. Though, assuming that hell has no intention of freezing over, I am not holding my breath for the iTMS-Zune-Rhapsody open-standard DRM system.
A neat addition to the panels was a Mozes.com live SMS message board where attendees could post real-time commentary on the panels by sending a SMS. A good source of spicy questions from the audience and great comments:
“Problems in music will definitely be solved by 50 year olds in suits in this room”
This one appeared just as the first panel was wrapping up. Enough said.
The other panels were fairly predictable. A panel on branding touched upon the difficulties in working in the experimental user-contributed content space for brands. Another panel on mobile content revealed that, well… people buy a lot of ringtones and would buy even more if it was easier.
And that’s all for today, tomorrow’s lineup looks more promising.