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The Eleventh Annual Interactive Music Conference
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Group Report: To DRM or Not To DRM?

Participants: A.K.A. "Digital Rogue Monsters (DRM)"

Benjamin Masse, Double V3

Henry Trenton, SigmaTel
Jeff Skillen, Gibson Guitar Gary Johnson, SMSC Austin

Problem Statement:

To DRM or not to DRM?


DRM or not DRM is the wrong question.

  • DRM is rather a barrier to entry to protect IP and market shares of software companies;
  • DRM is used by major labels to protect existing vertical business of their own (manufacturing, distribution, retail, etc.).

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men (and women) die like dogs. There's also a negative side.”
- Hunter S. Thompson

  • At best, DRM are obnoxious to most music fans.

Some facts:

  • 11 songs per iPod were bought on the Apple Music Store, the biggest on-line downloaded music store.
  • Emusic is the first source of income for independent artists in USA. Emusic uses mp3 format.

Artists / Independent Labels needs:

  • Better manage IP
  • Better know their niche market

Key concepts:

  • The Long Tail = niche marketing
  • Web 2.0 = viral marketing/fans must be involved

Thus most important element is data about niche market, to help artists & independent labels to better market their IP.

The real question is: To monitor or not to monitor?

The answer: To monitor.

What? Logs of exchanged and listened songs
Where? On any device connected to the Internet
Why? To help artists & independent labels to better promote their IP (please, no RIAA)


  • Watermarking* files originated from official sources
  • Fingerprinting** files originated from alternative sources

* Digital watermarking is a technique for adding hidden copyright notices or other verification messages to digital audio. Such hidden message is a group of bits describing information pertaining to the signal or to the author of the signal.

** An acoustic fingerprint is a unique code generated from an audio waveform. They can be used to automatically categorize or identify an audio sample.


  • Gibson for watermarking technology
  • Double V3 for fingerprinting technology
  • An independent third party, such as IFPI, to manage the whole thing

Note: Both Gibson and Double V3 has been working respectively on watermarking and fingerprinting for many many months. They have already approached many labels and associations. Technologies are well advanced, included patent pending and successful benchmarks against other competing technologies.

The action item list:

1. Meeting Double V3 and Gibson – Q4 2006 – BM
2. Double V3 will prepare a demo of fingerprinting engine / monitoring (400k to 3M songs) – Q1 2007 – BM
3. Gibson will prepare a demo of watermarking engine / monitoring – Q1 – JS
4. Convince IODA to use watermarks on their catalogue (500k+ songs in over 250 stores) – Q2 – BM
5. Double V3 and Gibson demo monitoring to IFPI based on Internet activities including – Q4 – JS
6. Launch at MIDEM – Q1 2008

section 6

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select a section:
1. Introduction  2. Speakers  3. Executive Summary  
4. Ensuring that PC Audio Editing/Rendering Plug-ins and Processors Always Work
5. Making the Configuration and Utilization of Audio Systems Much Easier
6. To DRM or Not To DRM?
7. A Consumer-friendly Quantifiable Metric for Audio Systems
8. Improving the PC Sound Alert Experience
9. A Prescription for Quality Audio
10. Facilitating Remote Jam Sessions
11. Providing a High Level of Mixing Aesthetics in Interactive Audio and Games

12. Schedule & Sponsors