Wednesday, April 14, 2010

DRM-free Music in India?

According to BGR, Nokia launched its Comes With Music subscription service in China but with a twist. It will be a DRM-free service, meaning the tracks will not be copyright protected using Windows Media DRM. Effectively, even after the subscription period expires, users will be able to save and copy tracks.

Indiatimes reports that Nokia will bring the service to India soon, but is yet to give a launch date. A post on Fonearena reports that the Nokia 5325 Comes with Music Handset is already listed on the Nokia India website.

Incidentally, Vodafone launched a music download service for its customers in Mumbai a few days ago.

I would welcome the launch of more such services in India. There is no access at all to paid high quality content in India - even the iTunes store does not offer it. And we have certainly been ready for it, for a long time. I would rather buy individual songs than expensive CDs, and I would certainly rather buy digital music than go to the pain and trouble of ripping CDs.

This Outlook India article mentions that Indians are the largest illegal downloaders of content in Asia. The number may not reduce without action against offenders but do we have any options at all for legal content download?

It could be argued that DRM-free downloads cannot stop us from copying or sharing our music, but this is at least one step better than outright piracy. Of late, strict action has been taken against physical piracy, but the scene of action has already shifted to Torrent-based downloads and online peer-to-peer based sharing, and we have to formulate new laws and a new approach to tackle this.

It's a different matter that until 3G is launched, downloading through the painfully slow GPRS connection on your mobile is going to sap the joy of getting new songs.