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Why Game Software Publishers Don’t Fear Piracy = why the music biz fails. Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 31st August 2011
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
jammybastard's Avatar
 

Why Game Software Publishers Don’t Fear Piracy = why the music biz fails.

Before you read this, and comment, you should be aware of who Gabe Newell is and what Valve Software's "Steam" digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform is.
(Full disclosure: I bought many games via Steam since it launched in '03)

Educate yourself:
Gabe Newell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_(software)

As you read the article remember a couple of things:
1. the market cap of game software industry vs the music biz.
2. that the game software industry has SUCCESSFULLY beaten piracy WITHOUT litigation and instead focusing on SERVICE. Don't believe they have? Look at their profits.
3. these guys know what they are talking about.

Source:
Why Portal's Publishers Don't Fear Piracy, Competition


Key quote:

Quote:
While computer publisher Valve is mostly about computer gaming, their Steam service has started to make in roads to console gaming as well. A bulk of what they currently do is provide an online service and store for computer gaming, but Gabe Newell, the head of the company knows that's changing.

He's also keeping a close eye on how other publishers are starting to create their own, competitive services. I sat down with Newell in Germany earlier this month to chat with him about the problems online gaming faces, including the fight to stop piracy, challenges to Steam and the future of gaming.

The first thing I wanted to know, though, was what he thought of publishers who require a gamer to remain online at all times to play their games. Or the slew of publishers who are starting to require people who buy their games used to purchase a second code to unlock the game's online elements.

"We're a broken record on this," Newell told me,. "This belief that you increase your monetization by making your game worth less through aggressive digital rights management is totally backwards . It's a service issue, not a technology issue. Piracy is just not an issue for us."

And it's not because Steam avoids regions of the world known for their software piracy, they actually embrace them.

"When we entered Russia everyone said, ‘You can't make money in there. Everyone pirates,'" Newell said.

But when Valve looked into what was going on there they saw that the pirates were doing a better job of localizing games than the publishers were.

"When people decide where to buy their games they look and they say, ‘Jesus, the pirates provide a better service for us,'" he said.

So Valve invested in getting the games they sold there localized in Russian. Now Russia is their largest European market outside of the UK and Germany.

"The best way to fight piracy is to create a service that people need," he said. "I think (publishers with strict DRM) will sell less of their products and create more problems.

"Customers want to know everything is going to be there for them no matter what: Their saved games and configurations will be there. They don't want any uncertainty."
Funny how the one thing the music biz/RIAA has resisted is the one thing that worked for Valve/Steam...creating a better service than what the pirates offer. Instead of innovating they chose to sue thus alienating a generation of customers.

As if that's not enough here's further grist for the mill...
We ask Gabe Newell about piracy, DRM and Episode Three | PC Gamer

Quote:
PC Gamer: Do you have a good sense of piracy rates with Steam games?

Gabe Newell: They’re low enough that we don’t really spend any time [on it]. When you look at the things we sit around and talk about, as big picture cross game issues, we’re way more concerned about the stability of DirectX drivers or, you know, the erroneous banning of people. That’s way more of an issue for us than piracy.

Once you create service value for customers, ongoing service value, piracy seems to disappear, right? It’s like “Oh, you’re still doing something for me? I don’t mind the fact that I paid for this.” Once you actually localise your product in Russia and ship it on the same day that you ship your English language versions, this theoretical hotbed of piracy becomes your second largest- third largest after Germany in continental Europe? Or third after UK?

Erik Johnson: In terms of retail units?

Gabe Newell: In terms of sales of our products, yeah. Overall, Steam plus retail.

Erik Johnson: Probably second. It’s a big number.

Gabe Newell: The point is that there’s this market that you shouldn’t waste your time on, that went from, “You shouldn’t waste our time on it, they’ll just pirate it,” to “it’s actually a really large market for us now,” once you actually do the things that allow your product to be played. And that’s why some of the DRM approaches are so bad, because they create negative value, not positive value.
Quote:

I’ve had this problem with software, where my machine crashes and I wasn’t able to release my license. So I have high-end CAD software that I have for hobbies, and my machine crashes and now I’m screwed because of their DRM solution. And that’s bad because it’s much harder to justify purchasing software that might just magically disappear and create a huge hassle for you to recover. What you want to do is go the other way, and say, “Anywhere in the world, any time, you can get your software.” It’s even better if you can get it to run on more platforms, which is why Steam Play is cool, so I can buy it on a Mac and play it on a PC and vice versa. That’s a good thing, that moves customers in the direction of thinking, “Oh, my content is more valuable.”

Erik Johnson: There hasn’t been a case where we’re making a trade off that could negatively impact a customer’s experience to reduce this theoretical piracy rate. Those always seem like awful decisions.

Gabe Newell: You were just saying, you’re making this trade off, and it’s always the wrong one if any customers can be affected negatively by it.

Erik Johnson: Being able to log into any computer and play our games on Steam was a feature that we thought was interesting in the early days of Steam, but has turned out to be an incredibly high value thing for customers, and that’s the kind of thing where a flawed anti piracy strategy would be at odds with that.

Doug Lombardi: The other thing, too, is that gamers are generally good people. If you’re making a good game and you’ve done a good job both from a quality and on the communications standpoint, they’re more than happy to give you their money. I mean, we get mail all the time. Gabe gets more mail I think directly from customers but EJ and I get a fair amount. And like, after we ship something that’s good, we get mail saying, “I just went out and bought a second copy of it, just because I liked it so much I wanted to pay you guys again.” Or, “I went and bought it from my uncle or brother,” or whatever. So that’s my take on a lot of it, just do your job and people are more than happy to pay for it.
Wow! So they provide a great service, and in return people are HAPPY to spend their money to support the software makers and the service!

Oh yeah, Steam sells games for download at full retail, no discounted.
Consider that as well.

...and now begins the posts by people who haven't read any of this and are living in denial....3...2...1!
Old 31st August 2011
  #2
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Games work VERY differently to music.

BUT

IT is complete poop to suggest games don't suffer from piracy - they/we do. Hugely in the past - it nearly wrecked the fledgling cassette based biz back in the 80s. However - it's circumvented by the fact that modern games require online hook up and have regular updates. You don't have a proper license? plop - you're gone.

SO - online games need a hack account to succeed, but the publisher is on the look out for them

Console games DO get hacked but PS3 and XBOX360 have loads of extra content shutting down cracked copies. PS1 suffered immensely from piracy even though creating a PS1 disk is harder than burning a new CD.

To enjoy (ahem) pirated music you don't need a CD. YOu have it by downloading it. Not so true with games - either you have to be able to download and make a disk (IF it works) or you're playing PC games. The PC market suffers hugely from piracy (the main reason there are no $50million budget PC games but there are console and online games)

There is very little two way traffic on line for music - once you've got it, you've got it!! Games have been in the fortunate position of having a product which is LESS affected (although not immune) from piracy in the first place by virtue of the distribution requirements and constant customer contact. Find a way of doing that with music and piracy ends....

Sueing - Actually there are quite a few game piracy court cases - Sony has brought several over the years. But the games industry isn't being spotlighted as "an evil industry" - I can assure you , it's as shark driven as the music biz and there is most certainly just as much proportional **** as the music biz.

FInally - piracy alone hasn't fekked the music industry. It's the over subscribed market, the democratisation of home recording, lowest common denominator shows like Xfactor and more to do with your spare change. The last one has meant that an industry which worked on very low margins now has to invest more to make less.
Old 31st August 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
 
AwwDeOhh's Avatar
 

Right, and a MAJOR difference between games and music?
Most games are sought for their 'online' PvP aspect. This is much easier to control than with a 2second download that you can burn/play anywhere.
With the computer game(s) you're tethered to a dedicated device, weather that be a console, or a PC... music will play on anything with a speaker and/or headphones.

And furthermore, there are things now (iCloud? ect) that allow you to "access your file anywhere in the world".
The problem with comparing videogames with music, is that with videogames, there's a MUCH more consolidated creater/distributer base. With music, pretty much every different album is a different 'company'...

just because both are "entertainment" doesn't mean they share much more in common that that..
Old 31st August 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
Games work VERY differently to music.

BUT

IT is complete poop to suggest games don't suffer from piracy - they/we do. Hugely in the past - it nearly wrecked the fledgling cassette based biz back in the 80s. However - it's circumvented by the fact that modern games require online hook up and have regular updates. You don't have a proper license? plop - you're gone.

SO - online games need a hack account to succeed, but the publisher is on the look out for them

Console games DO get hacked but PS3 and XBOX360 have loads of extra content shutting down cracked copies. PS1 suffered immensely from piracy even though creating a PS1 disk is harder than burning a new CD.

To enjoy (ahem) pirated music you don't need a CD. YOu have it by downloading it. Not so true with games - either you have to be able to download and make a disk (IF it works) or you're playing PC games. The PC market suffers hugely from piracy (the main reason there are no $50million budget PC games but there are console and online games)

There is very little two way traffic on line for music - once you've got it, you've got it!! Games have been in the fortunate position of having a product which is LESS affected (although not immune) from piracy in the first place by virtue of the distribution requirements and constant customer contact. Find a way of doing that with music and piracy ends....

Sueing - Actually there are quite a few game piracy court cases - Sony has brought several over the years. But the games industry isn't being spotlighted as "an evil industry" - I can assure you , it's as shark driven as the music biz and there is most certainly just as much proportional **** as the music biz.

FInally - piracy alone hasn't fekked the music industry. It's the over subscribed market, the democratisation of home recording, lowest common denominator shows like Xfactor and more to do with your spare change. The last one has meant that an industry which worked on very low margins now has to invest more to make less.
Yup they do get pirated.

They put a chip in xbox360 that allow you to play copied games.

But Ps3 and xbox update there OS constantly to stop it.

You can deny the update but they kick you off the online network.so no online battles.

Sent from my PC36100 using Gearslutz.com App
Old 31st August 2011
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by jammybastard View Post
Before you read this, and comment, you should be aware of who Gabe Newell is and what Valve Software's "Steam" digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform is.
(Full disclosure: I bought many games via Steam since it launched in '03)

Educate yourself:
Gabe Newell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_(software)

As you read the article remember a couple of things:
1. the market cap of game software industry vs the music biz.
2. that the game software industry has SUCCESSFULLY beaten piracy WITHOUT litigation and instead focusing on SERVICE. Don't believe they have? Look at their profits.
3. these guys know what they are talking about.

Source:
Why Portal's Publishers Don't Fear Piracy, Competition


Key quote:



Funny how the one thing the music biz/RIAA has resisted is the one thing that worked for Valve/Steam...creating a better service than what the pirates offer. Instead of innovating they chose to sue thus alienating a generation of customers.

As if that's not enough here's further grist for the mill...
We ask Gabe Newell about piracy, DRM and Episode Three | PC Gamer

[B]

Wow! So they provide a great service, and in return people are HAPPY to spend their money to support the software makers and the service!

Oh yeah, Steam sells games for download at full retail, no discounted.
Consider that as well.

...and now begins the posts by people who haven't read any of this and are living in denial....3...2...1!
What you have consistently ignored in all our discussions on this subject is that (A) Chris, myself, and several other people here know quite well what Steam does and why it's successful (B) that the Steam model is in no way appropriate for music for a number of well known technical reasons, many of which we have already discussed at length and (C) outside the Steam-style online model the game software business is getting KILLED by piracy, particularly in the case of offline single player games.

You can't apply DRM based solutions to music. It simply doesn't work.

Steam style DRM can only work if you limit the user to one specific playback (game play) platform. You can't do that with music.

Steam style DRM for music is science fiction. I LOVE science fiction - I read several books a week. But I'm not silly enough to confuse it with reality.
Old 31st August 2011
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by jammybastard View Post

...and now begins the posts by people who haven't read any of this and are living in denial....3...2...1!
If you really believed in your position, you wouldn't seek to dismiss anyone who has a different view before you've even read what they have to say.
tutt
Old 31st August 2011
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
Sueing - Actually there are quite a few game piracy court cases - Sony has brought several over the years. But the games industry isn't being spotlighted as "an evil industry" - I can assure you , it's as shark driven as the music biz and there is most certainly just as much proportional **** as the music biz.
Actually, back in the day there were federal felony prosecutions of operators of pirate sites that resulted in criminal convictions carrying heavy fines and jail time. But then the FBI got all caught up in terrorism and stopped their anti-piracy activity.
Old 31st August 2011
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
What you have consistently ignored in all our discussions on this subject is that (A) Chris, myself, and several other people here know quite well what Steam does and why it's successful (B) that the Steam model is in no way appropriate for music for a number of well known technical reasons, many of which we have already discussed at length and (C) outside the Steam-style online model the game software business is getting KILLED by piracy, particularly in the case of offline single player games.

You can't apply DRM based solutions to music. It simply doesn't work.

Steam style DRM can only work if you limit the user to one specific playback (game play) platform. You can't do that with music.

Steam style DRM for music is science fiction. I LOVE science fiction - I read several books a week. But I'm not silly enough to confuse it with reality.
I'm not taking sides in this (quite silly) argument. But am I going to be the only one to point out that Steam Style DRM as you call it, is in fact exactly what Apple is rolling out this very week? They seem to think it'll work and I don't see them faring too badly in the music industry thus far, even with good old Stevey boy stepping down. It's what Spotify does too.

Granted these are companies making great profit, not individuals, not artists... so nothing's changed there. But the cold hard fact of the matter is that the model is apparently quite feasible, business-wise. Whether it's the business equivalent of vulture tactics, hawking off dear departed grannies heirlooms while there's still some value to them and the body hasn't cooled, or something more sustainable, well that's something as yet to be seen. Like it or not though it *is* happening right now. Other folks are making oodles of money from music.
Old 31st August 2011
  #9
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Apple putting DRM back into music? Two years after they removed it? eh?


.... I might also add that Steam is not liked in the biz.......
Old 1st September 2011
  #10
Apple Match. The so called Steam DRM (as the person I was responding to described it as Steam DRM) is really related to your account, same as with GOG, Origin etc. The protection model is simply to be always online and to be so convenient as to undermine pirating. It works on the time honored principle of "make it easy for people to give you their money and they will". The serialization system is just to protect offline play, not really something that a media which is these days most frequently streamed like music needs to worry about as much. Spotify thrives on this, Apple will too.

The protection of content doesn't have to be prohibitively punitive for the legitimate user, it doesn't have to be non-existent either. It is possible to have it both ways, especially with the cloud. So yes you could say that Apple is edging back to a DRM model of sorts, just not one that makes it's users feel like criminals.

With regards how much steam is liked or not. Well it's an outlet like Gamestop or any other, except online and it's become a virtual monopoly, no-one likes having to give part of their profits to someone else. Hence EA Origin and so on. It's rather similar to Apple and the music industry I feel. They had the foresight, no-one else did.
Old 1st September 2011
  #11
Lives for gear
 
rhizomeman's Avatar
Right on JammyBastard!! Let the pre-clouders babble and argue amongst themselves over obsolete business models. I love seeing young entrepreneurs with a good idea giving the customer what they want - and being successful doing it. No surprise they are not popular with their competition. I'd be pissed too if my competitor figured out a way to make money in Russia, when no one else could.

Maybe our concept of music needs to change...
Old 1st September 2011
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
I'm not taking sides in this (quite silly) argument. But am I going to be the only one to point out that Steam Style DRM as you call it, is in fact exactly what Apple is rolling out this very week? They seem to think it'll work and I don't see them faring too badly in the music industry thus far, even with good old Stevey boy stepping down. It's what Spotify does too.

Granted these are companies making great profit, not individuals, not artists... so nothing's changed there. But the cold hard fact of the matter is that the model is apparently quite feasible, business-wise. Whether it's the business equivalent of vulture tactics, hawking off dear departed grannies heirlooms while there's still some value to them and the body hasn't cooled, or something more sustainable, well that's something as yet to be seen. Like it or not though it *is* happening right now. Other folks are making oodles of money from music.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
Apple Match. The so called Steam DRM (as the person I was responding to described it as Steam DRM) is really related to your account, same as with GOG, Origin etc. The protection model is simply to be always online and to be so convenient as to undermine pirating. It works on the time honored principle of "make it easy for people to give you their money and they will". The serialization system is just to protect offline play, not really something that a media which is these days most frequently streamed like music needs to worry about as much. Spotify thrives on this, Apple will too.

The protection of content doesn't have to be prohibitively punitive for the legitimate user, it doesn't have to be non-existent either. It is possible to have it both ways, especially with the cloud. So yes you could say that Apple is edging back to a DRM model of sorts, just not one that makes it's users feel like criminals.

With regards how much steam is liked or not. Well it's an outlet like Gamestop or any other, except online and it's become a virtual monopoly, no-one likes having to give part of their profits to someone else. Hence EA Origin and so on. It's rather similar to Apple and the music industry I feel. They had the foresight, no-one else did.
Actually, what Apple is doing isn't actually DRM for music at all because it's specific to their platform.

Which is where the resemblance to Steam-style DRM begins and ends, as it's not really Steam-style DRM at all.

In fact, it's quite the reverse - it's not DRM to protect the music, it's DRM to protect the platform. It ensures that once a customer purchases a significant amount of music on an Apple based platform they will continue to purchase their music from the Apple store and purchase Apple hardware products to play it because it won't play on anything else. IT PROTECTS THE HARDWARE BASE, NOT THE CONTENT.

In fact, Apple will happily replace you low quality pirated MP3s with higher quality Apple specific files for free to lock you into their playback device platform. THEY DON'T REALLY GIVE A HOOT WHERE YOU GET YOUR CONTENT AS LONG AS YOU BUY APPLE PRODUCTS TO PLAY IT!

Over the past decade, Apple has consistently used pirated music as an incentive to use Apple products, starting with the introduction of the first iPod.

Apple is a hardware company. Their business model is selling you widgets. All the other stuff they do sis simply aimed at locking you into buying Apple widgets and not buying widgets from competing companies. And they're very good at it.

I'm amazed that people like you don't see or understand this.
Old 1st September 2011
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhizomeman View Post
Right on JammyBastard!! Let the pre-clouders babble and argue amongst themselves over obsolete business models. I love seeing young entrepreneurs with a good idea giving the customer what they want - and being successful doing it. No surprise they are not popular with their competition. I'd be pissed too if my competitor figured out a way to make money in Russia, when no one else could.

Maybe our concept of music needs to change...
Anybody who relies on "the cloud" as their primary storage medium for anything needs to have their head examined.

But go right ahead. In 5 or 10 years I'll be laughing my ass off after the cloud companies start putting the screws to you and the ISPs charge you through the nose for access to your own content.

Interestingly, AT&T just instituted data caps on all their internet accounts. Do you actually think that the fact that they do this at the same time that all these "cloud companies" are the new techno-fad is a coincidence?

I just spent another hundred bucks on CDs today. You couldn't pay me to get near the "cloud".
Old 1st September 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 
AwwDeOhh's Avatar
 

...maybe i should start writing videogames...
Old 1st September 2011
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhizomeman View Post
Right on JammyBastard!! Let the pre-clouders babble and argue amongst themselves over obsolete business models.
Maybe our concept of music needs to change...
Streaming is ok in the cities, but not great for travelers.
I'll stick to me own music for the time being.

BBC News - BBC 3G mobile survey: Our conclusions
Quote:
while most of the big cities are well served by 3G, it can be a real challenge getting a decent connection elsewhere.
Old 1st September 2011
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Actually, what Apple is doing isn't actually DRM for music at all because it's specific to their platform.

Which is where the resemblance to Steam-style DRM begins and ends, as it's not really Steam-style DRM at all.

In fact, it's quite the reverse - it's not DRM to protect the music, it's DRM to protect the platform. It ensures that once a customer purchases a significant amount of music on an Apple based platform they will continue to purchase their music from the Apple store and purchase Apple hardware products to play it because it won't play on anything else. IT PROTECTS THE HARDWARE BASE, NOT THE CONTENT.

In fact, Apple will happily replace you low quality pirated MP3s with higher quality Apple specific files for free to lock you into their playback device platform. THEY DON'T REALLY GIVE A HOOT WHERE YOU GET YOUR CONTENT AS LONG AS YOU BUY APPLE PRODUCTS TO PLAY IT!

Over the past decade, Apple has consistently used pirated music as an incentive to use Apple products, starting with the introduction of the first iPod.

Apple is a hardware company. Their business model is selling you widgets. All the other stuff they do sis simply aimed at locking you into buying Apple widgets and not buying widgets from competing companies. And they're very good at it.

I'm amazed that people like you don't see or understand this.
I'm amazed that you seem to be under the delusion that the two things are mutually exclusive. A platform without content has no value add, content without a platform is equally dead in the water. Pride though, well apparently that's worth the world to some.

The music industry has a long history of being tied to platforms, vinyl, tape, cd, people owned the rights to those, wanted to get machines out into peoples homes, content drove that. The media, Radio and TV stations set the agenda and controlled who got to hear what, you were as beholden to Sony, to MTV or any number of radio stations as to Apple. Of course if the industry had the idea first (Napster) and run with it now they'd be calling the shots. Instead we all know what route they chose and how well that's worked out. So now someone else with foresight stepped in and controls the board of play. It's a bitter pill especially in the current economic climate, but the economy certainly wasn't this way when this all started, so that's hubris. Anyhow recriminations wont help, the only thing to do is embrace the future and try to get in there ASAP while there's still the possibility of gaining future leverage.
Old 1st September 2011
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
I'm amazed that you seem to be under the delusion that the two things are mutually exclusive. A platform without content has no value add, content without a platform is equally dead in the water. Pride though, well apparently that's worth the world to some.

The music industry has a long history of being tied to platforms, vinyl, tape, cd, people owned the rights to those, wanted to get machines out into peoples homes, content drove that. The media, Radio and TV stations set the agenda and controlled who got to hear what, you were as beholden to Sony, to MTV or any number of radio stations as to Apple. Of course if the industry had the idea first (Napster) and run with it now they'd be calling the shots. Instead we all know what route they chose and how well that's worked out. So now someone else with foresight stepped in and controls the board of play. It's a bitter pill especially in the current economic climate, but the economy certainly wasn't this way when this all started, so that's hubris. Anyhow recriminations wont help, the only thing to do is embrace the future and try to get in there ASAP while there's still the possibility of gaining future leverage.
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING VERY CAREFULLY. ALL OF IT, BEFORE YOU RESPOND.

I'm amazed that you don't understand the difference between DRM designed to lock you into a playback platform and DRM designed to protect content.

In order for DRM to protect content the content must not be transferable between different platforms and must be available only in protected format. This is not the case with music. In fact, it's physically impossible.

(God, I don't believe I'm having to explain this AGAIN!)

The problem with attempting to copy protect music is that no matter what you do it always has to be able to decoded to an analog signal in order to be used. Once the music is in analog form it can be easily re-digitized into an unprotected format by anyone who owns a cable and a soundcard. The process is trivial. It's more time consuming than doing a straight digital copy but that doesn't really matter because once you have an unprotected copy uploaded to the internet it will propagate all over the world in a matter of hours or days. You don't even need to actually crack the DRM.

So for music DRM to work you'd need to eliminate all devices capable of playing an unprotected WAV or MP3. And that ain't gonna happen.

I am astounded that this would not be obvious to anybody who frequents a forum for people interested in audio engineering.

Furthermore, as I pointed out previously, Apple's scheme is not designed or intended to in any way prevent content piracy, as Apple will gladly take your pirated files and transform them into files that play on their proprietary platform - for free.

The Apple scheme is not about providing DRM for musical content. It's about selling Apple branded widgets.
Old 1st September 2011
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post

The music industry has a long history of being tied to platforms, vinyl, tape, cd, people owned the rights to those, wanted to get machines out into peoples homes, content drove that. The media, Radio and TV stations set the agenda and controlled who got to hear what, you were as beholden to Sony, to MTV or any number of radio stations as to Apple.
And none of that musical content was ever protected because you can't protect music. You could always copy a record to tape or tape a song off the radio - or in the days before tape make a disc to disc recording (Yes, Virginia, they had home disc cutters before tape machines, my Dad had one). But people didn't do it much because it had to be done in real time for each copy you wanted unless you had a commercial duplicating system (which some people did).

The problem now is that you can make one copy - by whatever means - and upload it to the internet, thereby effectively creating and infinite number of copies instantaneously. There is no way to prevent this other than diligent legal enforcement against uploaders (including seeders and sharers) and offending sites.

Quote:
Of course if the industry had the idea first (Napster) and run with it now they'd be calling the shots. Instead we all know what route they chose and how well that's worked out. So now someone else with foresight stepped in and controls the board of play. It's a bitter pill especially in the current economic climate, but the economy certainly wasn't this way when this all started, so that's hubris. Anyhow recriminations wont help, the only thing to do is embrace the future and try to get in there ASAP while there's still the possibility of gaining future leverage.
That's actually hogwash. Here's a bit of history to set the record straight.

The industry didn't drop the ball, as the piracy apologists love to claim.

The fact is that the industry has hobbled by the fact that in order to do internet distribution legally you must negotiate a license with each content owner individually and there was no standard mechanism in place to do that at the time. Since Napster was an illegal, pirate site they simply didn't bother with that and put the content out without permission.

The real truth of the matter is that there were in fact legal, industry supported companies putting out music on the internet. I applied for a job with one of them, Liquid Audio, but it turned out that rather than actual audio engineers they were looking for kids to feed CDs into computers for ripping and encoding. Real Networks was another. Both these companies and others trying to do the same thing were steamrollered by Napster the same as the rest of the industry was because (A) the legal companies only had the content they were able to get licenses for and (B) they charged money for music and Napster didn't. The legal companies were also hampered by the fact that they were using proprietary formats with DRM that were not cross-compatible with various brands of player. Sound familiar?

Both Liquid Audio and Realnetworks predated Napster.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_Audio

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RealNetworks

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster
Old 2nd September 2011
  #19
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Warp69's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
The problem with attempting to copy protect music is that no matter what you do it always has to be able to decoded to an analog signal in order to be used. Once the music is in analog form it can be easily re-digitized into an unprotected format by anyone who owns a cable and a soundcard. The process is trivial. It's more time consuming than doing a straight digital copy but that doesn't really matter because once you have an unprotected copy uploaded to the internet it will propagate all over the world in a matter of hours or days.
I completely agree that the current format for music content is not suitable for DRM or a STEAM like approach, but why not change the format so it's possible to have better control of the content?

#1 - I think one of the reasons why music is prone to so much piracy is because it's very easy to copy (as described above) and distribute. One way to change that is to make the actual content format non-static - let us make the format interactive and evolving (see below for an example).

#2 - In this climate, 'customization' and 'self-expression' are important for a lot of people/potential customers - facebook, twitter etc. The new format should take advantage and monetize that trend (again see below for example).

#3 - Reduce the amount of content delivered to platforms thats not controlled by the content creators - youtube, iTunes etc.

I have daughter that's 6 years old and she's a big fan of Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, but there's virtual no difference between her experience when listening to youtube versus iTunes.

Let us imagine that the content owners created a STEAM like platfrom with a proprietary interactive music format, friends list and facebook like functionality :

Instead of buying a wav/mp3 file, she buys a service that stream multiple separate tracks (vocal, guitar, etc) and/or segments of the song. That way she could actually tweak/modify the experience by changing the arrangement and mix (within a limit set of parameters) to her liking in a very easy interface. Not only can she share her love for an artist with her girlfriends, but she can also show off her 'creations'/remixes to her girlfriends. The platform could make the remixes ratable on a large scale.
The service could even stream segments that's unused in the default mix - like a piano part instead of guitar, so she could customize even further.

The above could sound scary for an artist that have used a lot of time on a particular song to get a specific emotion/feeling, but Im not sure what's most scary : Piracy or interactive content?

The platform could also include music videos with lyrics and if the video includes a dance act, why not include a tutorial/app/game that my daughter could use? Not only just the dance act, but also how to make the same makeup as Lady Gaga etc.. The possibilities are endless.

And last - move all the facebook, twitter etc communication into the platform.

The above experience will be way more difficult to copy than the current format.

This new platform is of course limited to either a computer, smartphone, tablet or advance ipod like devices - but that's hardly a limitation in the future.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warp69 View Post
Instead of buying a wav/mp3 file, she buys a service that stream multiple separate tracks (vocal, guitar, etc) and/or segments of the song. That way she could actually tweak/modify the experience by changing the arrangement and mix (within a limit set of parameters) to her liking in a very easy interface. Not only can she share her love for an artist with her girlfriends, but she can also show off her 'creations'/remixes to her girlfriends. The platform could make the remixes ratable on a large scale.
The service could even stream segments that's unused in the default mix - like a piano part instead of guitar, so she could customize even further.
since being slapped down numerous times on this board by Mr. Eppstein and co. i've pretty much come around to their point of view.

say we implement the above system. what stops me from bouncing the streamed audio and uploading it to Piratebaysharehuntoid.com? even worse, what stops me from bouncing my new 'arrangement' using the legitimate stems and marketing them as my own music?

i remember being taught about Occam's Razor in school, essentially where the simplest solution is often the true solution. in this case it's "make people buy music" without offering them convoluted gimmicks.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #21
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

we could introduce draconian methods..... Death penalty for speeding tickets anybody?
Old 2nd September 2011
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warp69 View Post
I completely agree that the current format for music content is not suitable for DRM or a STEAM like approach, but why not change the format so it's possible to have better control of the content?
Because it's physically not possible.

Read this again, carefully.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/6991004-post17.html

It doesn't matter what format you use. You could use Star Trek holocubes for all I care, it will still be possible to do an analog rip of the content and re-digitize to an unprotected WAV.

Chasing this mirage is simply a waste of time and money.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warp69 View Post
Instead of buying a wav/mp3 file, she buys a service that stream multiple separate tracks (vocal, guitar, etc) and/or segments of the song. That way she could actually tweak/modify the experience by changing the arrangement and mix (within a limit set of parameters) to her liking in a very easy interface. Not only can she share her love for an artist with her girlfriends, but she can also show off her 'creations'/remixes to her girlfriends. The platform could make the remixes ratable on a large scale.
The service could even stream segments that's unused in the default mix - like a piano part instead of guitar, so she could customize even further.

The above could sound scary for an artist that have used a lot of time on a particular song to get a specific emotion/feeling, but Im not sure what's most scary : Piracy or interactive content?
I don't know of any professional producer, engineer, or artist that would want to provide their work in such a format that would allow any yobbo to tamper with it. Most professional engineers and producers won't even send out stems to a mastering house - I certainly wouldn't*. The only time you make stems available is soundtrack work.

And it wouldn't do squat to prevent piracy - might even make the problem worse because it would be more difficult to identify stolen content. For one thing, it would pretty much destroy Youtube's song identification technology.

Quote:
The platform could also include music videos with lyrics and if the video includes a dance act, why not include a tutorial/app/game that my daughter could use? Not only just the dance act, but also how to make the same makeup as Lady Gaga etc.. The possibilities are endless.

And last - move all the facebook, twitter etc communication into the platform.

The above experience will be way more difficult to copy than the current format.
What you're advocating here, if it were practical, which it isn't, would actually almost certainly provide a greater incentive FOR piracy because people who were not interested in all the extraneous BS would gravitate to a simple music file from a pirate source. And that's a majority of listeners. Furthermore, there's nothing in your idea to prevent ripping the music to an unprotected format. In fact, your "remix" idea actually encourages it.


*- actually, since I work pretty exclusively in the analog domain I have no stems so the "problem" doesn't exist for me. But I wouldn't send them out if I had them.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackaleks View Post
say we implement the above system. what stops me from bouncing the streamed audio and uploading it to Piratebaysharehuntoid.com?
Absolutely nothing, but those who use pirate version, gets what the pirate thought was good. Those who choose to buy the product gets a different product and experience. That's not the case today - there's nothing different between a legal mp3 file and a mp3 file obtained from Piratebaysharehuntoid.com

Apple doesn't really care about the content as long as they can sell their hardware - cheap music, cheap software (Logic) etc. The content industry could do something similar - give away product/functionality that only works with their proprietary format - ex. Sony could get someone like Propellerheads to create a DJ software package with effects that only works with contents from Sony - you could do your own megamix right out of the box. My point is that we need to create a product/experience that's different from what pirates can do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackaleks View Post
even worse, what stops me from bouncing my new 'arrangement' using the legitimate stems and marketing them as my own music?
No matter how we feel - technology will evolve and software like this will be better and cheaper : http://www.prosoniq.com/editing-products/sonicworx
Old 2nd September 2011
  #25
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AwwDeOhh's Avatar
 

Or we could just start enforcing laws that have already been written,
or better yet.. change them to resemble todays' reality.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warp69 View Post
Absolutely nothing, but those who use pirate version, gets what the pirate thought was good.
No, they'd get the pirate's rip of the mixed studio version.

Quote:
Apple doesn't really care about the content as long as they can sell their hardware - cheap music, cheap software (Logic) etc. The content industry could do something similar - give away product/functionality that only works with their proprietary format - ex. Sony could get someone like Propellerheads to create a DJ software package with effects that only works with contents from Sony - you could do your own megamix right out of the box. My point is that we need to create a product/experience that's different from what pirates can do.
That's a recipe for lost sales. People don't like proprietary formats. They're not going to buy a different widget for every different label. Doing something stupid like that would again drive people to patronize pirate sites that offer music in standard generic unprotected formats. The industry already learned that lesson once, when Napster's generic unprotected pirated music froze out proprietary legal formats from Liquid Audio and Realnetworks. Dealing with the "free" aspect is bad enough. Dealing with "unprotected" on top of that is a recipe for certain failure as has already been proven.

Plus your "brilliant" idea freezes out the indie labels who suffer most from piracy and release the majority of music that's actually of interest.

And, as I pointed out previously, no producer, or engineer, and very, very few artists are going to want to release music in a format that can be screwed with by any tin-eared yahoo - and certainly not screwed with and "SHARED"! "Sharing" is what we want to eliminate, not promote.

Quote:
No matter how we feel - technology will evolve and software like this will be better and cheaper : Prosoniq Products Software GmbH
I don't consider software that allows anybody to make karaoke and "minus one" versions to be any sort of an improvement, except perhaps for people learning to play an instrument. There are enough abominable Youtube covers around as it is, having somebody wanking to the original backing track - or worse yet wanking AND warbling - is not any kind of improvement. This is one of those technological "advances" - like Ottotune - that should have been suppressed from the start. The only really useful application I can see for it is forensic audio.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #27
I have a simple question for you. What's more important to you - That you make money, or that the market is leveraged a specific way?
Old 2nd September 2011
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
I have a simple question for you. What's more important to you - That you make money, or that the market is leveraged a specific way?
Making money, of course. I want the industry to become healthy enough so that an act like my band will once again have a chance of getting signed.* Which means not wasting money on pipe dreams and not driving the market away with silly proprietary schemes that the public doesn't want.

What you don't seem to understand is that some of us have been around a long time, we've seen all the bright ideas you youngsters come up with tried already in one form or another and we've learned the hard way what doesn't work.

Furthermore in my particular case in addition to experience in the music business I personally have previously been sufficiently involved with the opposition to have a very good handle on their capabilities and mindset, which means I know pretty much exactly how they would respond to the type of tech based "solutions" you promote.

Another thing you kids don't get is that I came to my current stance on the problem by the process of elimination - I'm not big on government control or law enforcement and in fact have been pretty much adamantly opposed to it my entire life. Unfortunately it's the only thing that stands a ghost of a chance of working.

* - My band contains two members who are current or former members of internationally recognized acts and in the former, pre-Napster business would have been a shoo-ion for a major or larger indie label contract.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #29
What reason do you give then for the music business steadily losing revenue this past ten years?
Old 2nd September 2011
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
What reason do you give then for the music business steadily losing revenue this past ten years?
Wholesale piracy.

Exacerbated by a total lack of responsiveness from law enforcement and government. Which finally appears to be changing thanks to the Obama administration.
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