The world is filled with millions of 17, 19 and 21 year olds with the necessary programming skills, no day job yet, and a passion to create. Think of the Internet as the great egalitarian environment where multi-billion dollar conglomerates are regularly out-maneuvered by the efforts of individuals.
When someone asks me where MP3 Newswire stands with regards to file trading (or piracy as some try to call it) I tell them that we support the growth of this notion of an online music industry. One that uses technology to bring us more music, broadening our pallettes while leveraging the Net to reduce distribution costs. The music can be paid for like CDs and tape or it can be free to its audience and supported by advertising like radio and MTV are. Whatever the model, the point is online music easily can and does supplement what we already purchase in the stores.
The flaw of target marketing is that it assumes people are indifferent to variety. Suburban white boys won't listen to Rap because supposedly they can't relate to urban black youths hopping around to all beat and no melody. What we get is music segregation on the airwaves and the record racks.
The image of rock and roll since Elvis has ranged from teen rebellion to challenging of the status quo. It represented freedom in the 60's, but lately it represents corporate hegemony, the opposite of what hippies envisioned at Woodstock. The RIAA to many consumers today symbolizes oppression, oppression of both artist and consumer.
A more reasonable definition of an iPod Killer is not some proverbial portable that comes from the heavens and slays Apple's player in the electronic stores. Instead it is a player that itself can define proprietary standards that achieve market critical mass. Achieve this and now it is Apple that is forced to adopt (or be cut out) of a standard they themselves did not create.
DRM goes beyond protecting tracks from being traded online. It is used to lock consumers to proprietary technology. It is used to control supply and push higher prices. It is used to undermine practices we have long defined as fair use so they can be shifted to fee-based.
When you buy a song file what you are buying is not a stamped product, but permission. Permission to copy a track from a sanctioned vendor. But it is just as easy if not easier from people to copy from one another. Who needs a middle man unless they offer an added value and do it at a motivating price point?