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eMusic CEO on DRM and iTunes

Kim Hart

David Pakman, CEO of eMusic, was quite proud of the recent move by book publisher Random House to remove digital rights management software from its audio book selection.

Speaking at the Digital Music Forum in New York, Pakman cited it as yet one more victory for DRM-free music that, he said, is much more appealing to consumers and will reduce the need to download illegal music and audio files.

"If you make a good available in lots of places, it will be pirated less," he said during an interview onstage. "Before, if you wanted a digital song, you had to steal it," because there were few options to get legitimate files. "You can't penalize the good guys to get the bad guys."

Pakman said Random House started by selling about one-third of its audio book collection on eMusic without DRM software. He said the company was "so happy" by how well the experiment was received by customers that it decided to ditch the anti-copying software altogether.

He also talked about how his music business is doing. eMusic's customers skew older than those of Apple's iTunes, with the average age being 39 years old. And 60 percent of all downloads are in the form of complete albums, whereas Apple sells a much higher percentage of singles.

Asked if eMusic will ever surpass iTunes in sales, he was quick to say "No." But with about 400,000 paying subscribers, Pakman seemed pretty content with the business.

By Kim Hart  |  February 28, 2008; 7:03 AM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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