Arts Desk

DRM Is Dead, but Watermarks Will Live Forever

The former opinion comes straight from the RIAA, the latter is mine.

In a piece that we published today, I interviewed executives from Sub Pop, Definitive Jux, and Nasty Little Man, and music writers Jessica Hopper and Douglas Wolk about the state of music reviewing and copyright protections.

If you've never reviewed a copyright-protected promo, imagine the restrictions of DRM and then some: interruptions on every track during which a voice says, "This is a promotional copy"; poorly designed desktop media players; blood pacts.

Turns out labels know damn good and well that these sorts of restrictions interfere with the review process. And that made me wonder if labels are less concerned with pre-release coverage than they used to be.

The answer is yes and no. For an explanation, read Watermarks Break My Heart: Journalists hate them; labels love them. Why copyright protections aren't going away.

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