EMI Can Send DRM Into Oblivion

| About: Eaton Vance (EMI)

When the obituary of digital rights management [DRM] software is written, music label EMI (NYSEMKT:EMI) is going to get a fairly meaty chapter.

First, EMI delivers its catalog DRM-free on iTunes. And now it’s counting YouTube as a dance partner. In the music industry, EMI is the equivalent of scab that just won’t go along with the union. EMI can make DRM a thing of the past–all it has to do now is show its financial results won’t crater.

As for the YouTube deal, EMI says in a statement that it will give YouTube users “unprecedented access to authorized videos and recordings from EMI Music artists, including those featured in user generated content.”

YouTube now notes that all four major music labels are now official YouTube partners. YouTube gets all of the EMI’s music videos. EMI says its artists will be “fairly compensated” and will explore “innovative business models.” A few details on these models, however, were sorely lacking. EMI and YouTube also have an agreement to work on business models that will protect copyright.

The companies said:

“EMI Music will use YouTube’s industry-leading content management tools which feature a content identification and reporting system that will help EMI track and monetize its content and compensate its artists. YouTube’s content management tools also give EMI Music the ability to request the removal of EMI’s copyrighted content from YouTube.”

With EMI teaming up with a bunch of music sites on DRM-free music it’s likely to force the hand of other labels. Give it a quarter or two and DRM will be a thing of the past–at least for music.