Removing DRM costs music labels hundreds of millions of dollars

Removing DRM costs music labels hundreds of millions of dollars

In 2009, major record labels decided to remove DRM from music on iTunes. Over a decade has passed since then, and now the issue has resurfaced in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Internet service provider RCN plans to use it as a defense, while the record labels argue that the DRM issue is outdated and no longer relevant.

Towards the end of the 2000s, music fans celebrated the news that record labels and Apple had agreed to eliminate DRM from music files downloaded through iTunes.

The music industry initially implemented various measures to protect music files from unauthorized copying, but even legitimate customers were uncomfortable with these methods.

The removal of DRM was seen as a breakthrough by DRM opponents and a significant step forward in the music industry. However, more than a decade after iTunes removed DRM, this issue is being reexamined in a complex copyright infringement case.

Record labels clash with RCN

Three years ago, several record labels, including Arista Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music, and Warner Records, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Internet service provider RCN. The music companies accused RCN of taking no action against users of its service who were continuously infringing copyright.

These are just a few of the copyright infringement lawsuits currently taking place. These lawsuits are not insignificant, as they involve hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Therefore, RCN is seeking any possible means of defense.

After unsuccessful efforts, the Internet service provider is looking for other options to protect itself.

To do this, the company wants to learn more about the decision to remove DRM from downloaded files on iTunes. Specifically, the company is questioning music companies when seeking information related to the decision to eliminate DRM.

“Identify all those involved in the decision to remove DRM from music files sold through the iTunes store,” the request states.

The DRM market is expected to reach $8.2 billion by 2027

The DRM market is expected to reach $8.2 billion by 2027

During the Covid-19 crisis, the digital rights management (DRM) technology market was estimated to reach $3.3 billion in 2020, projected to potentially reach $8.2 billion by 2027, growing at a rate of approximately 13.7% between 2020 and 2027.

Within the field of DRM for television and entertainment, one of the segments in the report, it was forecasted to achieve a record growth of 14.6%, reaching $5.5 billion by the end of the research period. After an assessment of the pandemic’s impact on business operations, the growth of DRM for enterprises was adjusted to 12.9% over the next seven years.

The DRM market in the United States was estimated to be $900.6 million, while China was expected to grow by 18%.


The DRM market in the United States was estimated at $900.6 million in 2020. China, the world’s second-largest economy, was forecasted to reach $1.9 billion by 2027, with a growth rate of 18% between 2020 and 2027. Other notable markets include Japan and Canada, each predicted to grow by 9.6% and 12%, respectively, during the 2020-2027 period. In the European region, Germany was projected to grow at a rate of 10.8%.

The software DRM segment achieved a record growth of 11.1%.

For the global software DRM segment, the United States, Canada, Japan, China, and Europe were estimated to grow at a rate of 10.4%. Markets in this region, accounting for about $465.5 million in 2020, were expected to reach $930.5 million by the end of the research period. China was expected to be the fastest-growing country in this cluster. Led by Australia, India, South Korea, the Asia-Pacific market was forecasted to reach $1.2 billion by 2027, while Latin America was expected to grow at a rate of 12.7% throughout the research period.

DRM, or Digital Rights Management, is a method of protecting digital content from viewers by preventing actions such as copying or copyright infringement. DRM has evolved into a must-have tool for any on-demand video streaming platform. DRM ensures that video content is stored and transformed into an encrypted format, allowing only authorized users and devices to view the video.

In simple terms, DRM is a technology that prevents copyright violations by content creators to restrict unauthorized use of digital content. The main purpose of DRM is to prevent users from accessing, copying, and sharing content illegally.

What does DRM cost?

What does DRM cost?

Businesses and content creators want to protect their valuable assets, DRM is the best solution, and the question is often asked: How much does DRM cost?

In this article, we’ll dive into the factors that influence DRM pricing and help you understand the various cost considerations.

DRM Service Models

The cost of DRM can vary widely depending on the service model you choose. Some DRM providers offer hosted services with monthly subscription fees, which can start from as low as $70 per month for basic DRM functionalities. Others may offer on-premises solutions with more substantial upfront costs.

Scale and Usage

The size and scope of your digital content distribution significantly impact DRM costs.

Extensive content libraries and global reach can increase costs for large enterprises, driven by usage and scalability needs. Evaluating these expenses is crucial for such organizations.

Customization and Features

Additional features and customization may incur extra charges. Tailored solutions with advanced analytics, third-party integration, or mobile app support typically lead to higher expenses in your DRM implementation.

Content Encoding

To protect digital content effectively, DRM often requires content encoding and packaging. Costs associated with encoding can vary based on factors such as the volume of content and the complexity of the encoding process.

Support and Maintenance

Ongoing support and maintenance are essential for keeping DRM systems up and running smoothly. Be prepared to factor in these costs, which may vary depending on the level of support and service agreements offered by your DRM provider.

Licensing and Compliance

Some DRM solutions may require licensing fees for certain codecs or technologies. Additionally, compliance with regional laws and regulations may involve additional costs, especially for organizations operating globally.

Turnkey Solutions

For those seeking a hassle-free DRM solution, turnkey providers like Thudo Multimedia with Sigma DRM offer a quick setup that doesn’t require extensive coding. While these solutions may seem costlier upfront, they can save you time and resources in the long run.

Using a hosted DRM service can begin at $70 per month, covering core functionalities, but it requires infrastructure development, including front-end, back-end, and API integration. Additionally, content encoding for packaging with DRM is a crucial consideration, and the overall cost is contingent upon your specific use case.

Therefore, depending on your situation and budget, Choose An Offline DRM Streaming Service that is suitable

Thudo Multimedia: A DRM solution minimizes DRM costs

Thudo Multimedia: A DRM solution minimizes DRM costs
Thudo Multimedia: A DRM solution minimizes DRM costs

Costs can fluctuate based on factors like usage scale, customization, and added features. It’s important for organizations to carefully evaluate their needs and budget to choose the most suitable DRM solution for their requirements.

Hosted services like Thudo Multimedia’s Sigma DRM offer a convenient turnkey solution, reducing the need for extensive coding and simplifying setup. Opting for Thudo Multimedia can often provide a more cost-effective choice compared to other market suppliers.

How to Set Up a DRM Player for Secure Video Content?

How to Set Up a DRM Player for Secure Video Content?

If you make or share videos online, you know why it’s crucial to protect your content. People might copy your videos, download them illegally, or try to watch without permission. This is a problem because it can cost you money in subscriptions and ads.

This article applies to digital publishers, media companies, broadcasters, and anyone with videos on the internet.

Whether your videos make you money or just help you get attention, making videos is a big deal. So, you need security to control who can watch your videos and how.

This is where DRM comes in.

What is DRM? DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. It’s a way to protect digital videos online (and also things like CDs and Blu-Ray discs). You can check more detail here!

DRM makes sure that people can only watch a video if they have a special key. This makes it much harder for people to watch your premium videos without permission.

To keep it simple, there are three main parts to DRM for videos:

  1. Your video itself. The actual video file must be encrypted for DRM.
  2. The video player. The player showing your video to people needs to know how to unlock it.
  3. Your license server. To unlock a video, the player asks your server for a key and some important info.

Why You Need Video DRM Usually, many video players show “clear content,” which means the videos aren’t protected by DRM. This makes it easy for people to copy and share your videos. If you want to protect your content, you need DRM in your video distribution.

DRM’s job is to store and send videos in a secret code. It only gets unscrambled for authorized viewers or devices. Think of it like passing a note with invisible ink in class. Only someone with a special light can read it.

In real terms, DRM helps you control your top-notch videos. It stops piracy and saves you money from people who might watch without paying.

3 Important DRM Technologies Unfortunately, DRM for videos isn’t easy right now. There’s no one-size-fits-all system. Each web browser and streaming tech uses different rules.

But among all the DRM tech out there, three are super important: Google Widevine, Apple FairPlay, and Microsoft PlayReady.

  1. Google Widevine Videos protected by Google Widevine work on Chrome, Firefox, and Android devices. It doesn’t work on Chrome for iOS. It supports streaming methods called MPEG-DASH and HLS.
  2. Apple FairPlay FairPlay works for videos on Safari, macOS, and iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. It only works with HLS streaming.

Note: To use Apple FairPlay, you need to pay for a certificate from an Apple developer account.

  1. Microsoft PlayReady PlayReady protects videos on IE11, Edge browsers, and Xbox devices. It also supports HLS streaming.

Bonus: Clearkey Another popular way to protect videos with Thudo Multimedia is Sigma DRM. It works with the MPEG-DASH streaming method.

If you want to learn more about the different methods Thudo Multimedia supports, check out our DRM developer plugin page.

How to Set Up DRM So, if you want to use DRM to protect your videos with the top 3 technologies, what do you do?

Securely share video content with DRM
Securely share video content withSigma DRM/Multi DRM

If you did it all yourself, you’d need to set up your own servers and make deals with each tech company. But that’s expensive and complicated.

A better way is to use a multi-DRM online video platform (OVP) like Flowplayer. It lets you use all these DRM technologies without much trouble!

Setting up a DRM Player With an enterprise Sigma DRM account, you get lots of DRM options. You can also add extra security like geolocation rules and tokenized streams.

But it might cost more, and the price can vary. Just know that Sigma DRM/Multi DRM can work with almost any major DRM solution you like!

For example, Sigma DRM/Multi DRM protects digital content during transmission on the internet and focuses on securing media content, providing a system with high availability and large load capacity. It includes an API to keep your videos safe on all common browsers and mobile devices.

One real-world example is VieOn, an entertainment video publisher. They needed to protect their content while providing free COVID-19 materials. By using Sigma DRM/Multi DRM, they could secure live, on-demand, downloadable, and offline videos.

Quick DRM Terms

  • DRM: It stops unauthorized people from watching digital media.
  • CDM: This helps DRM by decoding encrypted videos. Google Widevine, Apple FairPlay, and Microsoft PlayReady are CDMs.
  • MPEG-DASH: A way to stream videos with different quality levels.
  • HLS: Apple’s way to stream videos with different quality levels.
  • CENC: A standard way to protect videos that all major DRM systems use.
  • EME: A tool for web browsers to talk to CDMs and use DRM.

In Conclusion A multi-DRM player is a great way to protect your best videos and make the most money. Good DRM systems help you control who watches your videos.

No system is perfect, but Thudo Multimedia makes it easy to use DRM. You also get cool features like ad scheduling and better video quality. You can create an awesome customer experience, make more money, and build a strong brand.

To learn more about how Sigma DRM/Multi DRM works,

How can you securely share video content with others?

How can you securely share video content with others?

Sharing video content with others can pose challenges, particularly when you need to safeguard your privacy and intellectual property. You may encounter copyright issues, unauthorized access, or data breaches. How can you securely share video content without compromising quality and control? Here are some tips and tools to help you:

1. Opt for a Secure Platform

The first step is to select a platform that offers encryption, authentication, and access control for your video content. Encryption ensures that your data is scrambled and can only be deciphered by authorized users. Authentication verifies the identity of users and devices accessing your content, while access control allows you to set permissions and restrictions on who can view, download, or share your content.

2. Implement Passwords and Watermarks

Enhance your video content’s security with passwords and watermarks. Passwords prevent unauthorized users from accessing your content, while watermarks discourage piracy and theft. You can apply passwords and watermarks using your platform’s features or video editing software. For example, using ffmpeg, you can add a watermark to your video with this command: ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -i watermark.png -filter_complex "overlay=10:10" output.mp4. This overlays the ‘watermark.png’ image onto ‘input.mp4’ at the specified position and saves it as ‘output.mp4’.

3. Embrace End-to-End Encryption

When sharing video content directly with others, consider using end-to-end encryption. This method encrypts data on your device and decrypts it on the recipient’s device, ensuring no intermediaries can intercept or tamper with your content during transit. End-to-end encryption is available in apps such as Signal, WhatsApp, Telegram, or browsers like Firefox Send and OnionShare.

4. Leverage VPNs and Proxies

To share video content across different regions or networks, you may encounter geo-blocking or censorship. Geo-blocking restricts access based on location, while censorship involves content blocking by authorities. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and proxies can help bypass these barriers by routing your traffic through other servers, concealing your true IP address and location. Popular VPNs and proxies include NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Tor Browser.

5. Implement DRM and Encryption Keys

Securely share video content with DRM
Securely share video content with Sigma DRM

If sharing video content with a wide audience or monetizing it, you may need to use DRM (Digital Rights Management) and encryption keys. DRM controls how your content is used, distributed, or copied, while encryption keys unlock your encrypted content for authorized users. You can apply DRM and encryption keys on platforms like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or through software solutions like Sigma DRM and Sigma Multi DRM

By following these tips and utilizing these tools, you can securely share your video content while enjoying the benefits of video technology. Additionally, consider exploring online courses, books, or blogs to further enhance your knowledge of video network security and privacy.

DRM Streaming: How it Works and its Top 5 Benefits

DRM Streaming: How it Works and its Top 5 Benefits

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a tech tool that safeguards digital content. Think of it as a digital lock, keeping unauthorized users away from your precious media files.

DRM can even detect if someone’s trying to record a stream, although tech-savvy users might find ways around it. Still, DRM plays a crucial role in curbing piracy.

In this article, we’ll delve into what DRM is and uncover its top 5 advantages.

What is DRM? 

DRM-protected streaming services
DRM-protected streaming services

As the name suggests, Digital Rights Management (DRM) is used for controlling the playback and viewing of digital media files.

DRM is a multi-faceted technology that enables companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to control who has access to their content. It can also be used as an anti-piracy measure by preventing users from accessing certain files without paying or watching ads first (for example).

The main purpose of DRM is to control who can access digital content and how they can use it. This technology also helps protect copyrighted material from being pirated or stolen.

Types of DRM

DRM in video streaming is an umbrella term for technologies used to protect content from unauthorized usage. It can be broadly divided into two categories:

  • Copy protection – Preventing users from copying or sharing content with others.
  • Playback control – Restricting the playback experience of a user by limiting which devices and locations it can be played on.

Software-based DRM can be removed by simply deleting the files, whereas hardware-based DRM cannot be removed without damaging or destroying the device that it’s installed on.

Top 5 Benefits of DRM in Streaming Services

How to Protect Youtube videos from content theft?
Benefits of DRM in Streaming Services

1. Offers Streaming Service Providers Various Means to Secure Their Content

DRM can be used for multiple purposes, such as:

  • Preventing content from being copied or otherwise used without authorization.
  • Limiting the number of times users can view something (e.g., a movie) before they have to pay for it again.

In this way, DRM helps with protecting content from being illegally accessed online by hackers. It plays a vital role in stopping people from sharing and downloading files without paying for using premium content or streaming it online.

2. DRM Enables Access Control to Content

As previously mentioned, DRM in video streaming is used to secure digital media files from being copied and distributed. DRMs offer streaming service providers several different means of securing their content.

Using DRM technologies, companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video can control who has access to their movies and videos. This means you need an Apple TV, Google Chromecast, or another streaming device with compatible DRM technology to stream movies and TV shows on your television set.

DRMs also allow streaming services to control what devices can play their content. For example, Amazon Prime Video uses DRM technologies to ensure that only devices that support its technology will stream movies from the service.

3. Detect Whether a Stream is Being Recorded or Not

DRM can also detect whether a stream is being recorded or not. This means you will have to pay for the content if you want to record it and then watch it later on, so it may not be worth it for consumers to try and get around this issue since DRM will know when this type of illegal activity occurs.

The rights holders usually don’t mind if you record something live, such as a sporting event or concert, but they do object if you try to sell copies of these recordings on your website or through other channels.

If you are a copyright holder, you can use software that will detect if someone is streaming your content without paying for it. This software will send out an alert when this happens, and you can then take action against the user who streamed the content illegally.

If you don’t know how to get around DRM or are worried about being caught, there are many legal ways to watch live sports streams online.

4. Helps Slow Down Piracy

Users who know how to record streams may find workarounds, but having DRM in place still helps slow down piracy.

For example, when one person records a video and uploads it to the internet for other people to download, that’s called “stream ripping.” It’s illegal because the content owner didn’t permit someone else to take what was originally their property.

DRM won’t stop all stream rips from happening – but it does help protect against them by making it harder for others to do so in the first place.

When you’re recording a stream, you may notice that the video quality isn’t as good, or the sound does not get recorded. This is another reason why content owners use DRM: it helps protect their property by preventing others from making copies of it. It can reduce the audio quality of streams or block them entirely.

5. DRM Benefits Both Consumers and Content Creators

DRM-protected video is a win-win situation for both the consumer and the service provider. It ensures your content is protected from being pirated and accessed by unauthorized users. It also prevents hacking into your system, which can be harmful to your business as well as your customers.

The benefits of using DRM are not limited to just these two. It also offers you the following:

  • Improved security and privacy protection.
  • Access control over your data and files.


DRM in video streaming has become increasingly common in recent years because of its many benefits. Among others, it can help content creators protect against piracy and unauthorized usage of their online premium content.

DRM can not only block unauthorized video streams, but it can also know how many times a certain file has been played. This gives content creators much more cont