Numero Group: By The Numbers

Numero Converting Digital Files To DRM
January 20, 2011, 9:55 am
Filed under: Methodology | Tags: ,

As the Numero Group’s webguy I find myself listening to Numero stuff frequently. Too frequently. Don’t get me wrong, I love almost all of the music we put out and I’ve learned to tolerate 30-40% of the staff 60-70% of the time, but you definitely can have too much of a good thing.

Case in point: I hit the 100 play count mark for Marion Black’s “Who Knows” according to my iTunes. Amazing song… huge seller for us, but 100 times? That’s nuts. That’s nearly 4 hours of my life. Surely I should have been listening to something else for part of that time. There’s too much good music out there to allow oneself to get caught in significant repetition.

All I know is that this discovery has opened my eyes to the addictive nature of the music Numero releases, and frankly, we’re just not worth it. Unfortunately as the webguy I have no control over what Numero releases and I’m too lazy to go out to Chicago and lob molotov cocktails at the office. However I do control Numero’s digital empire.

Every Digital Dig and album download are within my reach, and I’m going to do something about this terrible infestation of wildly re-listenable music.

I’ve created my own sort of DRM for Numero. The “DRM” stands for Degrading Repeated Music. This is how it works: From now on when you download any digital file from Numero or iTunes it will play just fine for the first 29 times. On the 30th time the degradation will begin and get progressively worse until it’s completely unlistenable. Here’s the good part: I respect the integrity of the Numero Group and it’s respect to the history of recorded music, so the loss of sound quality will happen like a step backwards through the history of recorded media. This way, you won’t be completely unable to play the file (at first), it’ll just sound like it’s from a third-generation mixtape, or a slab of vinyl which fought a cat and lost.

For the purposes of full disclosure, here’s a sample of what you can expect from your future Numero digital purchases:

Now I’m sure some of you will bitch and moan about having the shit you bought not be available to you in perpetuity, but I swear we have your best listening interests at heart. There’s a lot of great music out there put out by some equally great (but let’s face it, not greater) labels. So please buy our stuff, listen to it a few times, listen to something else, then come back to us on occasion when you’ve been listening to too much of someone else’s stuff. Or just buy our CDs and LPs and this won’t be an issue for you.

17 Comments so far
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Progressive degradation… Just like life itself!

Comment by Sweatbox

This is a joke, right?

Comment by J. Sam

I knew the true Numero fan would get it! You’re welcome.

Comment by Jon Land

I’m not sure I should admit this, but I still find the track listenable… Well, up until 1:30.

Comment by b3playr

Is it?

Comment by Jon Land

The posting says “From now on when you download any digital file from Numero or iTunes it will play just fine for the first 29 times. On the 30th time the degradation will begin and get progressively worse until it’s completely unlistenable.”

So here’s my question: any purchase of a Numero title from iTunes will have this degradation, yes? If so, what sort of “buyer-beware” notice will Numero be placing on the iTunes Music Store to ensure that the customer knows exactly what they are getting once they buy a title?

Comment by Jim B

Ask yourself one question: Does this technology even exist?

Comment by numerogroup

We’ve made an arrangement with iTunes to ensure every track and album will come bundled with a 4 page digital booklet including this blog post and 3 pages of randomly-generated advertising for albums iTunes will think you like. We’re the only label Apple is willing to do this for out of the 1500+ labels they handle, so frankly, we’re honored and pleased that they know a brilliant idea when they see one. I’ve been fielding emails from other labels interested in using the technology as well, so our releases are just the beginning.

Comment by Jon Land

Jon, the arrangement sounds good (pun intended). But I fear the answer to my big question is “no:” will the consumers be told about this degradation before the purchase?
This version of DRM is a compelling proposition. As a fan of Numero and iTMS, I would hate to see this “brilliant idea” undone by customer backlash due to lack of creating appropriate consumer awareness prior to purchase.
If Numero and iTMS hold customer satisfaction in as high regard as quality of product then this is a major consideration, because this type of “DRM” is (to my knowledge) a game-changer… no one else is doing this.
And if the technology doesn’t exist, you think that would stop Apple? Jeez, they invent stuff every week that “doesn’t exist.”

Comment by Jim Bricker

I can only hope that the warning will be written in bright squant letters.

Comment by Joshua A.C. Newman


Comment by griff505

From 1:30 on, I felt like I was looking for quarters and other loose change at the neighborhood park’s sandbox.

I also think I heard a message straight from God. He said, “Buy more Numero.”

Comment by Eric Luecking

…looking for quarters and other loose change with which to play Numero records nonstop on a jukebox! You’re a junkie of music!

Comment by b3playr

this is fucking awesome. mp3s suck, and fuck itunes! however, listening to a song 100 times is cool right? what if it stops you from killing yourself?

Comment by Naomi-Anna Larrick

but oh my god, that is soooo unlistenable!!!! digital static is disgusting, it would be interesting if future lame tards digital ” music collections” are plagued with this coded disease…

Comment by Naomi-Anna Larrick

Naomi-Anna, you find the song which when played 100 times will prevent suicide, and I’ll put it on the Numero Suicide Prevention Hotline. It beats talking to those depressing people. I’m the webguy. I don’t know how I wound up with that responsibility anyway.

Comment by Jon Land

Good gravy, I can’t wait for April 1st!

Comment by b3playr

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