Amazon going DRM-free, Adobe wins

smiling Adobe logoConsumers hate DRM. It’s plain stupid. I buy a piece of music for my personal entertainment and I should be able to use it as I please – in the car, in the iPod, on my phone, as a ring tone. I paid for it, so leave me alone.

In the digital world music leads and video follows. At least that’s been the consultants’ pitch to the studios – the digital music business is a predictor of the online video business. Of course that glosses over significant differences in the user experience, but let’s go with it.

Amazon’s announcement that it will sell all its music DRM-free is a winner, and it’s possible because there is a universally accepted digital music format – MP3. iPods, Zunes, Zens, PCs, and Macs all play MP3 files. This is a winning strategy.

But what about video? Right now, there’s no standard video format that every device plays. Flash is close, but Apple TV, video iPods, PlayStations, Xboxes, and many more don’t play FLV files.

Video needs its own MP3 format. Users will determine what that is, and my guess is that it will be FLV. Those that don’t jump on board and support the format are destined to remain on the fringe of the IPTV world.

Adobe video applications’ return to the Mac, the content creation platform of choice, and the development of the Adobe Media Player look pretty darn smart right now.

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