So, last week Sony/BMG announced that they were going DRM-Free for their music and the world cheered. Now, today, (as reported by TechCrunch) they are announcing the actual DRM-Free strategy (USA Today article). That strategy? Cards purchased from a brick and mortar store to be used online to download an album. Basically they are going to have cards on display in various stores (Best Buy for instance) that represent a digital download of the album. You purchase the card, go home, then goto a special website where you will type in the code and receive the album in question.
Sounds great except for one major problem. It completely misses the point of digital downloads. Digital music downloads are about instant gratification. For instance, it’s 2:30am and I just have to hear “that song, by that guy, who came out last year” so I go onto Amazon or iTunes and purchase the track. It’s 2:30 in the morning, most brick and mortar stores are closed. This means, I’d have to wait till the morning, goto the store buy the card and then come home and take even more steps before I can download the track. By then, I have slept and whatever jonesing I had for the song is gone, and in result they lost the sale.
Granted the above example is probably the minority situation but it shows how all the unnecessary steps prove that the people behind Sony/BMG completely missed the point of digital downloads. That little thing called convenience. I purchased the Juno soundtrack from Amazon at 10:30pm a couple of nights ago. I love the soundtrack to the movie and my wife and I wanted it. Instant gratification, that’s the point of digital downloads. Digital downloads without DRM are even better (I downloaded from Amazon even though the record was on iTunes because the Amazon version was higher quality and DRM-Free).
Sony, listen to your customers. If you want to utilize this method (which someone on TechCrunch shows how it is a good move for you guys), at least make the stuff available through Amazon.com’s Mp3 Store. That way you satisfy both ends. It can’t be that hard to do, it’s all digital files anyway.