Digital Audio Insider -- the economics of music and other digital content

  digital audio insider


Digital Audio Insider is David Harrell's blog about the economics of music and other digital content. I write from the perspective of a musican who has self-released four albums with the indie rock band the Layaways.

My personal website has links to my LinkedIn and Google+ pages and you can send e-mail to david [at] thelayaways [dot] com.

If you enjoy this site, please consider downloading a Layaways track or album from iTunes, Amazon MP3, Bandcamp, or eMusic. CDs are available from CD Baby and Amazon.


Analog Industries
Ars Technica
Brad Sucks Blog
Broken Record
Digital Music News
Duke Listens
Future of Music Coalition Blog
LA Times Technology Blog
The ListeNerd
MP3 Insider
Music Ally
Music Machinery
Music Think Tank
The Music Void
New Music Strategies
Online Fandom
Pakman's Blog
Rough Type
Virtual Economics

The Big Picture
Core Economics
The Long Tail
Marginal Revolution
The Undercover Economist

17 Dots
Shake Your Fist
Sounds Like the 80s
Unleash the Love

January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
August 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
June 2013
August 2013
February 2014
March 2014
September 2014
December 2014
March 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
October 2016
May 2017

March 10, 2011

Re-ReDigi: More Details Emerge About the Used Digital Music Marketplace
by David Harrell
ReDigi, the used digital music marketplace that is planning to launch this summer, has released more details about how the platform will work. I might be misreading it, but this part of the press release makes it sound as if only fingerprinted music files (Amazon MP3 and iTunes now individually watermark all of their downloads) will be eligible for sale:
The ReDigi Music Agent uses a sophisticated method of analyzing many aspects of the music file to determine its base eligibility, including identifying the song's digital thumbprint (a proprietary, patent pending, forensic analysis of key details associated with each specific file) and confirming whether the file has been properly acquired from an eligible commercial site. A music file determined to be "unverifiable" or "ineligible for resale" is not necessarily an illegally obtained file; it only means that the origin can't be identified or the source does not qualify.
And ReDigi will actually zap the song files from your hard drive and any synced devices:
...acceptable files are then added to the ReDigi music marketplace for re-sale and deleted from the original owner's computer. The files are also removed from any synced devices. ReDigi manages this process for users, so even devices synced over time will be updated with tracks that have posted for sale and sold tracks will be removed. Just like anything else you physically own, once you sell a music file, you no longer have the right to use it. By doing this, ReDigi provides even stronger copyright protection to labels and artists as it proactively removes these files to protect the owner and the appropriate parties.
The workarounds to this feature are obvious -- burning tracks to a CD-R before selling them, using a dedicated computer for selling tracks while maintaining the files on another machine, etc. -- though the same can be said for keeping copies of physical CDs that you sell, which also violates a strict "fair use" interpretation of copyright law.

The big question here is how music labels (and, perhaps, book publishers and software companies, as there are obvious implications for those industries as well) are going to react to ReDigi's effort to apply the first-sale doctrine to digital content:
"The technological development of the ReDigi Music Agent passes copyright and first-sale doctrine tests that have stopped other companies from legally being able to do this previously," says Larry Rudolph, CTO of ReDigi. "If you have bought it, you are allowed to sell it. Also, you are allowed to buy something that someone else legally can sell. ReDigi is the technology used for this transaction. It verifies the legal origin, a seller's right under the first sale doctrine and allows a user to resell a file that is verifiably his or hers to sell."
As Rudolph alludes to in the above quote, ReDigi isn't the first attempt at a used digital music marketplace. This 2008 Ars Technica article provides background on the first-sale doctrine and discusses Bopaboo, a previous attempt to give consumers a platform for selling their mp3s. While Bopaboo sought a licensing deal of some sort from music labels, it required the upload of a copy of each music file to its platform, something that legal interpretations of the first-sale doctrine don't provide for. And while the ReDigi approach seeks to ensure that only one version of a music file exists at a time, it can be argued that the version that ends up on ReDigi's servers is indeed a copy of the original purchased file.

Personally, I'm all for the application of the first-sale doctrine to digital media. But given that at least one major label group has been extremely litigious over digital music lockers (as in seeking the personal assets of a music locker company CEO), I'll be shocked if the major labels and industry groups don't mount a serious legal challenge. If so, I'd love to see the courts find for ReDigi and extend first-sale protection to digital goods.

One final thought: Assuming ReDegi overcomes any legal hurdles or harassment, the platform could actually give music fans an arbitrage opportunity of sorts -- the ability turn a profit on some digital files. That is, if you legally obtain "daily special" albums from Amazon MP3 (or the various freebie mp3s that Amazon offers), you might be able to sell them later for a higher price after the promotion is over and the tracks revert to their standard prices.

Related: A Marketplace for Used Digital Music?


link 0 comments e-mail listen to the Layaways on Spotify

More Digital Audio Insider: Newer Posts Older Posts

Subscribe:   RSS Feed

Add this blog to, Digg, or Furl. Follow David Harrell on Google+.

The Digital Audio Insider Twitter feed:
    Apple stock analysis

    Digital music jobs: Looking to hire? Looking for a job? Check out the digital audio insider job board.

    Popular Posts

    A Long Tail Experiment
    By the Numbers: Using Statistics to Quantify Audience Devotion Owes Me Sixty Cents
    An Interview with Jonathan Segel of Camper Van Beethoven
    Price Elasticity of Demand for McCartney
    Sony and eMusic: What I Missed

    The Digital Pricing Conundrum series:
    Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four


    Out Now -- "Maybe Next Year" -- The New Holiday Album:

    <a href="">Joy To The World by The Layaways</a>

    "This is a sweet treat, deliciously musical without being overbaked for mass media consumption." -- Hyperbolium

    "Perfect listening to accompany whatever holiday preparations you may be making today." -- Bag of Songs

    O Christmas Tree - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    Away In A Manger - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or Bandcamp. Listen to free streams at

    album cover art from The Space Between

    <a href="">Keep It To Yourself by The Layaways</a>

    "...about as melodic and hooky as indie pop can get." -- Absolute Powerpop

    "Their laid-back, '60s era sounds are absolutely delightening." -- 3hive

    "...melodic, garage-influenced shoegaze." -- RCRD LBL

    Where The Conversation Ends - free mp3
    January - free mp3
    Keep It To Yourself - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or CD Baby, stream it at or Napster.

    album cover art from We've Been Lost

    <a href="">Silence by The Layaways</a>

    "The Layaways make fine indie pop. Hushed vocals interweave with understated buzzing guitars. The whole LP is a revelation from the start." -- Lost Music

    "Catchy Guided by Voices-like rockers who lay it on sweetly and sincerely, just like Lionel Richie." -- WRUV Radio

    Silence - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    The Long Night - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at, Napster, or Rhapsody.

    album cover art from More Than Happy

    "These are songs that you want to take home with you, curl up with, hold them close -- and pray that they are still with you when you wake up." -- The Big Takeover

    Let Me In - free mp3
    Ocean Blue - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at, Napster, or Rhapsody.

    More Layaways downloads:

    download the Layaways at eMusic download the Layaways at iTunes

    the layaways website