Get ready for a world of pain and high unexpected costs. I think it’s fair to say that only Microsoft could have developed such a flexible yet confusing pricing and control structure.
I’m not against DRM — in fact I think there should be protections and payment for enjoying commercial work. It just has to be accessible — easy to get and simple in how you pay for it. There have been quite a few articles lately talking about this and it seems MS is ahead in getting their solution out (though it’s only being announced today, released later) while Apple is still cooking theirs up. I hope they hurry.
…By making the rights so granular, Microsoft has created technology that would encourage its partners to implement a variety of rights mechanisms that could create consumer confusion. For example, purchased or rented music could come with rights for unlimited PC playback, 30-day portable device usage but metered (meaning pay as you play) usage when accessed elsewhere in the home from a digital media receiver. Another: say I rent music from an online store that I can play on a couple PCs and portable device as long as I pay 10 bucks a month, but another store charges by number of playbacks. One store might offer both mechanisms, for which there is precedent in stores offering content for sale or subscription. What happens if consumers want to buy music from more than one store, but the rights change or even they are different based on the publisher within one store?