MusicDish e-Journal - October 19, 2018
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Continuing Discussion on the Secure Digital Music Initiative
By MusicDish
(more articles from this author)
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For many the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI)is some far off issue not effecting their music, label, or website. For others, they dismiss SDMI as a plot by the major labels and predict failure. However, the outcome of SDMI, whether it fails or succeeds, will have a far reaching impact on the industry as a whole, especially as it enters the digital millennium. This is why MusicDish has dedicated many of its pages to understanding SDMI and where it will take the industry.

One cannot ignore the power of the companies supporting SDMI: Diamond Multimedia, five major labels (Sony, EMI, BMI, Warner & Universal), Liquid Audio, Microsoft, InterTrust, Reciprocal, Lucent, Aris, and many more (over one hundred). While these companies do not control the Internet, consumers and musicians, they do have a lot of say on the issue. If SDMI fails, we must ask why it failed and what was done incorrectly. As with any industry (Telecom, electronics...) standards are needed, and a balance between the rights of copyrightholders and the rights of consumers will have to be achieved. Whatever the outcome, the industry has to wade through the digital music hyperbole and work together: majors, indies, consumers... Understanding what SDMI is and what will be it's impact should be the first step.

Sounni de Fontenay (Editor)

Download an in depth analysis of SDMI's Portable Device Specifications in pdf

See the online results from the "SDMI: Boom or Bust for the Music Industry" survey.


#1     It's interesting to see these results since I was feeling so differently when I originally took the survey. Due to the nature of the industry, the climate has changed significantly since the survey was first posted. While first enraged by the idea of SDMI when I first heard about it, as time has passed and things become less heated, I understand why the initiative was started. However, I do have a few comments.

First, of course I don't like the sounds of such a high price tag on membership, it appears very restrictive, but I'm not exactly sure what membership entails. Can you elaborate on that a little further?

Additionally, what are your thoughts on the recent decoding applications after the release of the microsoft player. Will SDMI experience the same thing? Almost seems inevitable.

Lastly, it's still so unclear what format is going to prevail, but as some dust settles, I would bet against SDMI to prevail as the industry standard with so much competition and alternate options without the high price tag.

I'm very curious to see how this all unfolds.

Carolyn Ballen
The Indie Music Forum

#2     Following the whole software piracy precedent, I believe that any attempts to incorporate "safeguards" are doomed to failure. When cassettes came out, there was a hue and cry that nothing would stop folks from making unlimited, illegal copies. This was, in fact, basically true. Yet people still bought legitimate copies by the truckload.

The only real answer is to offer some "enhanced value" reason for getting legitimate copies. On albums, it was the artwork and liner notes. What will it be for electronically distributed media? Perhaps discounted concert tickets for registered buyers. Maybe contests with high "win" odds. Perhaps discounts on other products. The entire music industry is on the brink of change. This whole approach seems to have been tried before (on DAT machines, and on VHS tapes) and it failed miserably. Some non-linear thinking is required here!


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