Friday, June 22, 2007

unruly elements

Here is my shot at S-T network/T-style "trusted system" analysis of the EMI deal:

From a S-T network perspective, one could interpret EMIs removal of DRM as a strategy to break apart a larger music market arrangement that disadvantaged EMI. Wired newscoverage suggests they were in the middle of some acquisitions battle - and raising stock value in the middle of acquisitions negotiations would likely have some strategic value. Perhaps it was seen as a way to spin their stock value higher? Also Wired suggests that the DRM -free decion might also give EMI an upper hand in competitive bidding for promising new artists... also a way to change their market position

I believe Apple also had its own motivations for appearing nice... EU anti-competitive stuff? Not up on the details.

What is important is that the EMI probably didn't make the decision because they believe DRM are evil - but rather that they see it in their short term interest to not use DRM right now. The decision to not use DRM is a move to increase the strength of their market position vis a vis other labels - or increase their stock value via hype.

This is somewhat similar to a move in the e-book world: in July of 2006 Spring announced a DRM-free ebook series. This was done to improve its market position/public perception within the world of libraries and other institutions licensing group access to ebooks. (note important differences between customers: EMI (individuals) Springer (institutions).

Theoretically speaking: So here the unruly element is a competitor organization that sees a temporary advantage in not employing DRM so it can improve its position vis a vis peers. This is not dissimilar to the Tarelton's tales of certain participants wanting to torpedo the SDMI meetings because it would have been to their advantage not to have a standard.

When DRM is used and when DRM is purposefully NOT used DRM is still an important actant in a much bigger S-T network (and battle for market position/competitive advantage). DRM has both symbolic and practical functionality.

But... that being said, I haven't looking into the EMI stuff too deeply - so I'm interested to hear what T has to say.


No comments: