Why It Won’t Work
Sony BMG spokesperson: We’re pleased to announce we are the final major music corporation to release electronic tracks without that pesky DRM! All you have to do is leave your house, go to a selected retail outlet, buy a special card there, go back to your house, scratch off the back of the card to find a code, go to our special MusicPass Web site, enter said code, and download one of the 37 titles we have available, from Celine Dion to the Backstreet Boys!
Kid #1: Or, in the time it takes me to jump through all those hoops, I could just download all 37 of those albums off of Pirate Bay.
Kid #2: Or, I could just scratch off the back at the store, record the pin number, go home and download the album through a Tor connection, so you can’t trace my IP number.
Kid #1: Also, what’s with this first slate of artists? Celine Dion? Backstreet Boys? Kenny Chesney? Barry Manilow? Are you high?
Sony BMG dude: They appeal to the sort of mainstream consumer who will see the convenience of our revolutionary music cards!
Kid #2: Like my mom? Dude, she’s not going to buy a card. She’s going to buy a CD. Because she’s at the CD store. Where she can buy CDs.
Sony BMG dude: They also make lovely gifts!
Kid #1: If she gets one as a gift, all she’s going to do is ask me how the heck she’s supposed to use it. And then she’s going ask me to get the download for her. Like I’m not busy. And you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to return the card for cash, and then I’m going to download the album off of Pirate Bay, because you’ve confused and upset my mom. And annoyed me.
Sony BMG dude: Uh.
Kid #2: So to recap, what you’ve got here is a system that makes people leave their house in order to download music at their house, and makes them go to a store to get music that they could get at the store, somewhere else.
Sony BMG dude: Er.
Kid #1: Why don’t you just sell non-DRM’d MP3s off Amazon, like every other major music corporation?
Sony BMG dude: Well.
Kid #2: You don’t actually want to sell unprotected MP3s, do you? You want to be able to say you’re doing it, but really, you want to make it so ridiculously inconvenient that people keep just keep buying CDs and DRM’d tracks off iTunes. Just admit it, bro.
Sony BMG dude (pointing): Look! It’s Celine Dion! And Barry Manilow! (runs away as kids avert their eyes in terror)
Poor, stupid deluded Sony BMG.
This MusicPass thing: six months at the outside.