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Survey About DRM Acceptance

About a month late I got to see this news item about a survey that results in a conclusion that people are finally getting used to DRM.

Among other things, it says that:

The overall messages from these studies are: higher-priced DRM-free downloads resonate with a percentage of consumers but not a very large one; …

and specifically that:

the EMR/Olswang study found that only 43% would prefer “paying a little extra” for DRM-free tracks; and the In-Stat study found that only 19% would be willing to pay 30% more for a DRM-free track, as opposed to 29% who would not (44% said that it depends on other factors).

So, on the face of it, it seems as people start to not care much if their content is DRM-crippled; at least that’s what the article implies. It also compares these statistics to those of a survey done years ago that presumably reflected more hostility towards DRM.

However, before I got the chance to be amazed enough at the outcome, I bumped into a seemingly unrelated observation of that same survey…

The EMR/Olswang study – which is an annual digital music survey and actually focuses primarily on social networking – also indicated that 42% of respondents knew at least “something about” DRM …

Seeing this result puts the previous one into the correct proportion. By the second result, 58% of the respondents fall into the inverse group of those who “knew at least something about DRM”. That is, 58% of the respondents knew nothing about DRM, although they may have heard the term (the survey mentions that 88% of the respondents at least heard the term). Now let me ask you something: Say someone calls you and asks if you would prefer to pay extra for VRT-free milk, and say you have no idea what VRT is (just like I don’t; I made it up), what would your answer be? Taking people who don’t know what DRM is (and thus probably don’t know what DRM may imply on them and on their machines) and asking them if they will pay more for DRM-free content makes no sense.

Assuming that most people who don’t know anything about DRM will also not pay extra to avoid it, having 43% pay extra to avoid DRM, while only 42% know at least a single thing about DRM, does not sound to me as signs of DRM acceptance…


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