DRM-free music streaming - is it possible?

Discuss how to promote using FLOSS to make music.

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Basslint
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DRM-free music streaming - is it possible?

Postby Basslint » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:20 am

Premise: I know that record labels put certain restrictions to how their music can be distributed, so this probably does not apply to music released by the major labels and only to independent releases. And I know about Jamendo but I am not talking about Creative Commons-licensed music, I am talking about all music.

Do you think it's possible to make a music streaming service (like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer or TIDAL) which does not use DRM (or proprietary software at all) and at the same time grants proper loyalty payment and makes sure that only paying users have access to music?

I think so. In fact, it would be not be much different from any other subscription-based web service, and simple encryption and watermarking might be enough to discourage rippers and leakers. DRM is already ineffective, because once music enters the analog realm, it escapes any kind of digital rights management, so if anything it would offer the same degree of protection current streaming services already offer.

Do you think such a service could ever exist and be profitable, for both its investors and artists? I think so, for a number of reasons:
* Royalty fees on streaming services are very low, sometimes below a cent per stream
* There are many less popular artists which make small to no profits on streaming services. They benefit from the exposure but not much more
* Thanks to playlists and recommendations, the artists which earn the most royalties are those who already are the most popular
* There are tons of fine independent artists, some of which have been dropped off their major labels, who might benefit from higher royalty payments
* Spotify operated at a loss for many, many years. This means that their model does not work for both investors and artists, but it's apparently good for marketing reason
* Many artists, even famous ones, already release their music DRM-free on sites like Bandcamp

What are your thoughts about it? Do you think any of the popular independent labels, say Domino (Franz Ferdinand), Hyperdub (Burial) or Ninja Tune (Bonobo) would release their music on a DRM-free music streaming service, or do you think only the smaller independent labels and self releasers would be interested in it?
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. [Acts 4:32]

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bluebell
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Re: DRM-free music streaming - is it possible?

Postby bluebell » Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:09 pm

Somafm.com is legal, pays royalities and doesn't use DRM.
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Basslint
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Re: DRM-free music streaming - is it possible?

Postby Basslint » Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:45 pm

bluebell wrote:Somafm.com is legal, pays royalities and doesn't use DRM.


Is it also a music streaming service (i.e. you can select which track you listen) or only a radio?

Digitally Imported (and its affiliated radios, ClassicalRadio, RadioTunes, JazzRadio and RockRadio) is a similarly DRM-free radio, however I was referring more to music streaming in which you can choose which tracks to play :D
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. [Acts 4:32]

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bluebell
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Re: DRM-free music streaming - is it possible?

Postby bluebell » Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:52 pm

Basslint wrote:
bluebell wrote:Somafm.com is legal, pays royalities and doesn't use DRM.


Is it also a music streaming service (i.e. you can select which track you listen) or only a radio?

Digitally Imported (and its affiliated radios, ClassicalRadio, RadioTunes, JazzRadio and RockRadio) is a similarly DRM-free radio, however I was referring more to music streaming in which you can choose which tracks to play :D


It's only a radio.
Linux – MOTU UltraLite AVB – Qtractor – https://soundcloud.com/suedwestlicht

jonetsu
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Re: DRM-free music streaming - is it possible?

Postby jonetsu » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:57 pm

The big thing would be to convince labels (of any type) to let go of their DRM while assuring them substantial revenues. Or at least revenues at par. But then the first question will be, you are stripping away their wish for DRM (since they use DRM services for a reason), so how much will you be cutting into their potential revenues at the same time ?

"Potential" is the perception one has when subscribing to DRM. "Actual" is the reality they face but "potential" can linger on for quite some time. Even if they might be not making much money, the "potential" still exists. If you take this away from them, what then ?

Basslint
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Re: DRM-free music streaming - is it possible?

Postby Basslint » Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:23 am

jonetsu wrote:The big thing would be to convince labels (of any type) to let go of their DRM while assuring them substantial revenues. Or at least revenues at par. But then the first question will be, you are stripping away their wish for DRM (since they use DRM services for a reason), so how much will you be cutting into their potential revenues at the same time ?

"Potential" is the perception one has when subscribing to DRM. "Actual" is the reality they face but "potential" can linger on for quite some time. Even if they might be not making much money, the "potential" still exists. If you take this away from them, what then ?


You are right, however DRM is a technical impossibility (even Bruce Schneier who is way more competent than I can ever be thinks so) It is never going to be able to prevent piracy, because music is always going to turn into a signal at some point.

I've always been a proponent of legality, as I don't believe in subjective morals - so, if certain music is DRMed, I won't be able to listen to it. But I am also willing to pay for music, so it's clear that the current situation is not economically efficient, for them as well - they are not earning the money I am willing to give them for their music.
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. [Acts 4:32]

Basslint
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Re: DRM-free music streaming - is it possible?

Postby Basslint » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:40 am

I am bumping my own thread to ask for information - do you know any music streaming services that can be used via a web browser and don't require DRM except Jamendo?

Right now Youtube seems the only one, but the royalty payments are abysmally low.
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. [Acts 4:32]


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