Surprise! DRM-free music sells more
We cannot yet speak of precise statistics or complete data but the first rumors on the trend of sales of digital music tracks on iTunes with or without DRM are of great interest. In particular, the well-known Pink Floyd album, Dark Side of the Moon, has been sold every week since the launch of the no-DRM version, about 3,600 times. Before iTunes Plus, the digital lock-free iTunes service, that same album didn’t sell more than 830 times a week. This means a increase of 272 percent in sales.
Although these are obviously very partial data, relating in this case to a single album, however significant, they are of even greater interest if we consider that the single songs without padlocks they cost more of those sold in the “armored” version: the interest in the first official results, expected shortly, is therefore enormous. In its own article, Bloomberg News reports the comments of Lauren Berkowitz, vice president of EMI in London, which confirms that “the initial results of the sale of DRM-free music are good”.
To confirm the enormous interest of iTunes customers for tracks that are finally free from constraints that often prevent them from being fully used, the data relating to other important albums arrive. In recent weeks, since the end of May, when iTunes Plus was launched, also albums by Smashing Pumpkins, by Coldplay and Norah Jones although in a less marked way than what happened with the Pink Floyd title.
All clear, then? To curb the enthusiasm there is a post by Coolfer who points out how the boom in iTunes Plus sales could be linked not so much to the sale of “new copies” of the albums of interest but rather to upgrade of previous copies with DRM . As is known, in fact, iTunes Plus allows with a cost of a few tens of cents to remove the digital locks on tracks already purchased. If this were confirmed, it is likely that in the next few weeks there will be a reduction in the currently boiling numbers of iTunes Plus, once the drive to convert protected songs by current iTunes customers is exhausted.
But it doesn’t stop there. Another element of interest identified by Coolfer is the fact that the CDs of the aforementioned bands, and in particular the best-selling albums on iTunes Plus in their catalog, seem to be sell less , with decreases that have even reached 45 percent. “In general – Coolfer points out – I would not give too much weight to a two-week drop after a sale that lasted 13 weeks. It takes several weeks to understand how this is going. But in this case there is a trend that emerges, and that does not concern a single title “.
If this correlation were also confirmed, the evolution of the digital market towards the sale of DRM-free music, which is also affecting giants like Amazon, could result in the definitive demolition of the already shaky traditional CD market .
For music lovers, these numbers seem to confirm their willingness to put their hands on their wallet when what they buy is what is sold, in this case freely usable songs and no more music that cannot be freely run between devices and different supports. For the majors, however, the numbers that will emerge from the activities of iTunes Plus are decisive, because many of their decisions on future market strategies will depend on those. The bet seems destined to be once again Apple: Steve Jobs as noted, he was confident that “over half of the songs on iTunes will be offered in the iTunes Plus version by the end of this year”.