Record companies are in trouble. They have been losing money for years now and the situation is simply not getting better. The big four is at least partly right in attributing the major loss in sales to piracy and illegal downloading. This drastic drop in sales has prompted the industry to take some pretty drastic actions in what ultimately seems like a losing battle to eliminate piracy.DRM (Digital Rights Management) technologies are being used by the industry to regulate the use of digital media. These methods vary in range from the practical to the extreme. iTunes sells their music in AAC format which can only be played through iTunes software. AAC files are also only able to be played by the purchaser who can play the file on up to five registered computers and limit a playlist from being burned more than seven times.
The most extreme case of DRM took place in late October 2005 when alert users became aware of a program that had installed itself on their desktops, without their knowing, by simply attempting to play a Sony BMG CD on their computers. The rootkit was hidden on around 100 titles issued by Sony BMG and once installed corrupted the way Microsoft Windows plays CDs and left the purchaserâ€™s computer wide open for viruses. Whatâ€™s more the President of Sony BMG, Thomas Hesse announced on National Public Radio that the general public does not know what a rootkit is and tbel to join before their digital release date, October 10th, would the record be allowed on the charts without a label? Would the album be considered a success if five hundred million people download it despite the fact that it was not allowed to go platinum? Will the amount of money spent in sales be used to determine the success of the album or will that information even be available to the public? Is there anyway of knowing whether this was successful enough for other, less renowned bands to attempt? Ultimately, successful or not, In Rainbows is nothing less than revolutionary. The ramifications are yet to be seen, but the answers will begin on October 10th.