Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tagged MP3s easier to track in the wild, could serve podcasters

The Press Release:
The Digital Watermarking Alliance (DWA), an international group of industry leading companies involved in commercializing digital watermarking solutions, announced today that proven digital watermarking technologies are available to help the music industry identify and better manage the MP3 digital music files many labels are beginning to sell on popular music download sites while enabling enhanced consumer experiences.
We long for the day when Digital Rights Management finally fades away for our music. I still "sort of" own Windows Media Audio files that I can't actually play because they didn't survive my most recent computer upgrade. Sure, the music industry needs to make money, but making it by making music unusable doesn't seem to be the ticket. It appears that we aren't the only ones that think DRM is on its way out. The Press Release cited above, from an industry alliance of music industry companies, including Dolby, Digimarc, and Phillips, and Thomson introduce the press release with their own situation assessment:
As record labels move toward distributing music in unencrypted MP3 formats for download...
This makes sense for lots of reasons. Most PC based music players keep track of the number of times you play a given song. If agreed to then this could actually let music sellers know how much their song is being listened to.

This also portends a useful mechanism for podcasters. Serialized or tagged mp3 files could let podcasters know if anyone is actually listening to their shows. The current state of podcasting is that our software downloads lots of files and queues them up for playing. We may never actually listen to the podcast, however, and with some of the automated software we might actually allow it to be deleted before listening to the podcast because the stack gets too big. It's a bit like cleaning out your magazine rack of unread magazines by just keeping the top two inches and throwing away everything underneath because you are hopelessly behind. The podcaster and his advertiser hopes and thinks you listened to the show, but has no way of knowing. Privacy concerns aside, Watermarked mp3 files may offer some useful podcasters much needed usage data for their podcasts.

qv: Digital Watermarking Alliance

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