Keep your eye on the DRM

New York Times: Liquid Audio Gets a Buyer for Its Assets

This deal looks eerily similar to Sony and Philips purchasing Intertrust, another digital rights managememt (DRM) pioneer that had nothing left but its technology and patents. Like it or not, the music industry is moving forward on digital distribution using strong DRM. Its first attempt was a standard, SDMI, which failed in the marketplace. The second wave is licensing content to MusicNet, PressPlay, and Listen.com, with mixed results. Don’t be surprised if Liquid Audio and Intertrust’s technology (with some RealNetworks and/or Microsoft DRM possibly mixed in) become the second coming of SDMI, this time with broad backing from industry. The consumer electronics vendors hate government mandates, but they will gladly adopt industry standard DRM that they don’t think is too onerous on users.