2008 could finally be the year most independent labels have been waiting for: At last we are starting to see a trend among the major labels to abandon the use of digital rights management, and it seems that we will hopefully be able to close the book on this painful chapter in our industry's history. The growing openness toward non-DRM initiatives that we are witnessing is the final political justification for the mistakes committed in recent years—lessons learned, or at least we hope so.

Even as far back as 2003, independent labels could see DRM was doomed to fail right from its conception. In fact, many of us protested it by adopting the "Copy Protection-Free—Respect the Music" campaign logo on our CDs.

And we were proved right. Not only was its imminent failure unavoidable, but it would also have a disastrous impact on the market as a whole. In this age of constant technological advances and innovations, we had the opportunity to see the fledgling online market blossom beyond belief in the wake of drops in the physical market. Yet what should have been a period of progress and development instead became severely hampered by the introduction of DRM, which devalued legitimate music and only served to increase interest in illegal music.

As a result, the consumer became more and more alienated from the music industry, and innovative new services, which would have no doubt helped to improve consumer-industry relations and drive the market forward, saw their chances of success critically reduced.

Click here to read Weidenmueller's full opinion piece, including his thoughts on the impact of the original Napster, what is needed to encourage economic diversity moving forward, how the role of indies must change and more.