Feeds

DRM-hating eMusic chief quits

Farewell David Pakman

Build a business case: developing custom apps

David Pakman, CEO of eMusic, will leave the subscription service at the end of the year. Pakman explained his departure on Monday, and yesterday disclosed that his next destination would be VC firm Venrock.

Pakman championed DRM-free music, viewing the measures as anti-consumer. This has been a phenomenon, along with his commitment to editorial investment - a stark contrast to Apple's iTunes music store which one reader after launch called "an airport kiosk without the cigarettes and chewing gum." Pakman grew the eMusic subscriber base from 10,000 to 400,000 in his four years as boss, turning it into the second largest music retailer.

The cost was the refusal of the major four labels to participate. This handed eMusic ammunition for a serious antitrust challenge against the big four labels - but Pakman hesitated to pull the trigger.

Pakman and his backers deserve more credit than anyone for the major labels' decision to drop DRM restrictions. Steve Jobs became a born-again opponent of DRM belatedly last year, but iTunes still wraps his music in locks and keys - even when the labels don't want it.

eMusic was founded in 1998 as GoodNoise by Gene Hoffman and Bob Kohn, a former Borland and PGP counsel and music licensing guru. The following year it went public, reaching a first-day market capitalisation of over $500m. Following the dot com blow out, Vivendi Universal acquired the company for around $25m, but it lay fallow until private equity company Dimensional (part of JDS Capital) acquired the business in 2003, giving Pakman the job of "super-serving the over-25 age group".

Today, eMusic isn't perfect. The lack of major label catalogues leaves music lovers short, and subscribers don't have the offer of being "super-served" songs in a lossless format. But it has been a rare digital music success - a viable business that's committed to giving a great experience for customers, while rewarding the creators.

Whereas with most digital music ventures over the past ten years, it's typically been "pick any none from three". ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.