The Battle Over Music Piracy

Viewpoint: Record labels don't trust us with their music. But they need to retune that thinking, says Lev Grossman

Illustration for TIME by Dan Page

Learning to love your inner pirate.

When announced its plan to open a digital music store to sell MP3s, you had to really work to get excited about it. It's hard to think of a press release that would be less surprising. At this rate, my 3-year-old daughter will be opening a digital music store pretty soon. And Amazon's selling MP3s? It's a digital music store. What else would it sell?

But Amazon's move was actually a strategic salvo in the great secret war of the $60 billion music industry, the fight over Digital Rights Management, usually known by the spine-tinglingly thrilling abbreviation DRM. What's DRM?...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!