CMT All Hands and DRM
I just had the all hands meeting for the CMT (Consumer Media Technologies) group. It was interesting to say the least, I'm still working on the same core technologies that I was working on in the DMD (Digital Media Division) except it feels like the teams are much leaner and the products are more focused on profitability rather than costing to other internal divisions. This is all pretty interesting because after working at Microsoft for nearly a year and a half, I'm beginning to see the trend of creating a product and then turning it into a platform more and more. What's interesting in this case is that it's going full circle now and we're taking our platforms and focusing them back into products.
Oh, now for DRM. One of the speakers (Chadd Knowlton) asked why do we like DRM and I had been thinking about that for some time and have been meaning to write about this. I like DRM because it enables me to get the subscription music service that I use. I can do everything that I want to do with my music, it just will expire when I stop paying for the service. Without DRM, I could not legitimately do what I'm doing. I don't have to buy a CD to try it, I don't have to break the law, I can just listen to what I like and bring it with me if I want to (on my phone or Sansa). For the price of one CD each month, I pretty much have a filling station for my player and can listen to all of the latest and greatest hits. If you talk to the people who are adament about not having DRM on any of their devices or content, their typical experience is with the "download once, play forever" and not people who are working with the "download once, play until expires" scenarios. Don't knock it 'till you tried it, folks.
Admittedly, I've had hiccups in the subscription service, and I suppose it's possible that over time I could lose access to some of the content, but I don't really care. I'm still able to listen to more music than I could ever need and it plays well with my devices, and I feel I have already gotten the value out of the service that I paid. In a lot of ways, I can't imagine getting my music another way than through a service as I do now. And that is why I (ok, don't necessarily love) appreciate DRM.