Ways To Protect Your Finished Release?

In soviet Russia, DRM breaks YOU!

Stupid joke, sorry. But seriously, man. There isn’t an ideal music protection thing. Against every hack there is a hack. If you’re talented, you will be payed. If there is a low demand, do it like thousands of other people do. Dezcrator here f.e… Even Andrew Sega basically used to do the same thing!!! He worked at Microsoft for a short while as a programmer for Freelancer and at the same time composed the OST for that game.

Quoting Sean Tyas (DJ Mag #46):
“…illegal downloads, though annoying on one hand, can be a massive acceleration to people getting exposed to your music.”


EDIT: wth did i just write…

Have to disagree. There are many, many indies out there that record, mix, master and release music with the need for dozens of people to be involved. Teh Internet and the likes of SoundCloud/Twitter/forums have helped to alleviate this


Big Question: Are you going to be ripped off? If so, to what damage? 10s? 100s? 100,000s?

Any protection can (and will be) hacked. It’s a challenge and as long as they keep coming, they’ll get hacked. Just look at computer software…

Now, Metallica were a very small band in the Bay Area of San Francisco in the metal unfashionable late70s/early 80s. There was no internet. The publicity was word of mouth (or rather by 5th generation cassettes). They enjoyed great success and so did other other bands riding on the New Wave of heavy metal. Then the internets. Then Napster. And then they whined…

“We’re so rich BUT we could have been richer if those mullet-headed dweebs bought MOAR of our stuff”. Biting the hand that feeds; drunk guys in a garage or at a world’s stage? Some bands embrace bootlegging of gigs (U2), others encourage remixes (NIN)

It’s a well known thing in software development that those who steal will and would never have bought your stuff in the first place. Lost sale or free publicity? Only you can decide that based upon statistics

The simplest way to protect your music is by sending a master via registered post to yourself. Or use a family solicitor to hold it in there safe with a signed statement (they might do this for free if you have wills, deeds etc with them). I have actually found some banks will help

At least, you can prove that you wrote a piece of music first. Can you afford to take an offender to court? It costs megabucks and if you’re against the likes of Coldplay, no chance. Joe Satriani got a mega payout, but for a relatively unknown with not that much money, won a very large case but it’s very, very rare

Bottom line is: If you like writing music and it is good, then people will buy it and you will be rewarded (money? fame? sex? some or all of them?), but thinking about things like DRM for an unestablished artist is a a step too far

In general, it’s a case of “better to have 10% of 10000s than 0% of nothing” I’m afraid

Rock bands make money from touring and t-shirt sales, not from record sales. There would be no “90s UK rave scene” without bootleg cassettes. I’m not saying that I like it, just the way that it is

In any case, I wish you the very best of luck! Just make sure you clear your samples!..really! ;)

@bluszcz I am intrigued as to how you deem DRM as communism. Surely it’s capitalism at the extreme ie you buy my stuff but you don’t really own it and if you lose it, you have to buy it again. Maybe not for this thread… ;)

not much to do with protecting your music, but in regards to spreading it round has anybody heard of or used Zimbalam?

found them the other day, havn’t used them but think about it for a future release…

they take care of spreading your stuff to all the digital distributers (itunes et all) and collect payments for you. price is 35 € once for an album - seems fair imo.

doesn’t help with getting known but at least you don’t have to deal with all the distribution malarky.


your point is valid, and i can appreciate your romantic view of the artistic profession. however, be aware that, in modern (visual) art at least, the last thirty or so years have been a steady progression from artist into artist/businessman. artists have been teaching themselves how to make a living in a western economy, and have learned to treat their work as business. you could argue that makes them less ‘artistic’, but in my opinion their work does not suffer from it. take a look at Andy Warhol, or Salvador Dali. they managed to combine the two perfectly.
if you think about it, it’s only a smart thing to do. i used to live my life idealistically, hating capitalism and society and whatever, but at some point i realised that you cannot escape that system, because it is your reality. so you need to deal with it. when Andy Warhol started pissing on a piece of metal and selling that stuff as ‘oxidation art’, that was a brilliant way of combining the two and still being remaining true to his artistic self. make fun of the system, exploit the system, use the system.

i would focus more on making something sooooo shit hot that eeeeeveryone in the world is going to want a copy,…

cos unless you have that,… copyprotection of any kind will only do harm to you as an artist.

if what you have is soooooo amazing, then no matter how many times it gets ripped or how many torrent sites its on,… you’ll still get the credit as the guy who made that shit hot track, and who knows what money making respect building doors might open for you as a result.

Simple: Don’t release your stuff. You are now totally protected.

This is actually much-much better PR than DRM’ing your track.

Especially ironical is the fact that the same guy who wants to DRM his first tracks, also created this thread few days ago: Methods For Sampling :rolleyes:

ha, didn’t notice that…

If the boiling point is about respect, perhaps some questions about how humans give and receive respect would pave a different path other than protecting a sound file.

I dont release my output and play it back for friends at game nights or keep it only for me (most of my tracks have intime sampled material).

For family members i make sometimes a track as a present for birthdays. I like to open renoise with my childrens and let them play around at the keys while i am more the technically support.


I’ve really started something off here… Oops lol I just thought I’d just say I really agree with everything you are saying. Of course I’m no Metallica, christ I’m not even a poor busker. I was simply asking for a bit of knowledge. I did not expect this kind of response, I have SOO many links to look at in this forum alone, so give me a little time to look through them and I’ll respond as hoenstly and as objectively as I can.

Do you slow down for car crashes? Yes I did create that thread, all artists use samples from clips. I wasn’t talking about sampling someone else’s music and claiming it as my own. It isn’t ironic at all… Both are beginner’s questions. I am a total beginner. chill man

That sounds so joyful :) fair play

fu53b0x did mention this at the end of his thread also, which validated my initial deduction.

Communism is quite the opposite of that… A communist, in theory would say I have no right to protect my works, because my works belong to the community as they are my equals and everything I own… they own… Hope I don’t sound too… You know lol

But thank you for all your information, I really appreciate your input. This was far more than I expected… Despite this political, economic approach to the thread, I would like it to be focused on the protection of files. By the looks of things I doubt I will even be doing it, but I STILL have not had a response about burning to CDs. Unless there has been… and I missed it. There was a lot to read.

Whether you sample someone elses music, elephant sound from discovery channel, or a Borg quote from Star Trek you are infringing copyrights, whether you claim it your own or not. But at the same time you try to avoid someone else sampling from your music at all costs. Kinda double standards isn’t it?

In all honesty, protecting your music is the last thing you should think of. As for a beginner, you should hope it spreads as much as possible instead.

About CDs:

Some major music labels tried to use DRM on their CD’s. For now they have stopped doing that cause they found it counterproductive. Pirates still get the music out, normal users have much more fuzz with the CD and are often forced to pirate the album instead to listen it on their portable media player.

Even most people who use computer rip the music to organize it better, to avoid wear on the original CD and to listen to the music, not the disk spinning in the machine. :)

Protection of files or protection of music?

Protection of file, as in DRM and the ilk, is (in my very humble opinion obviously) a bit no no. Unless you want protection as you are uploading for a specific user and only want them to be able to download/listen, and then you are talking encryption.

Protection of music: For example you don’t want to upload to Soundcloud, have some big band like Take That hear it and release a single that is so obviously your track it is undeniable. For this you need to Copyright your stuff. You will find many arguments on the 'net as to what is acceptable as proof of Copyright but it is generally agreed that just having the source files, with creation date pre-dating release of commercial (cover) version is not enough. Posting to yourself in a sealed envelope, as it will be date-stamped by the post office, is an oft-quoted method for those that can’t afford to leave with a solicitor with a recorded date etc etc. Have seen people argue that just posting to yourself isn’t enough though and have to admit I’ve never personally seen it be tried in court for proof of copyright. Remember even material under Creative Commons and similar licences you are still the Copyright holder, you just give certain permissions for how your work may be used etc etc, it doesn’t mean other people could come and claim it as theirs if they so wished.

Actually posting your track to soundcloud, myspace, youtube, etc is a valid proof of copyright as the respective owners of these sites can testify that this track has been uploaded at the given time and has not been modified since.

There are also precedents on this.

There is a big problem with virtually every DRM technique I know - it’s painfully annoying to the listener who has made the mistake of buying DRMed files.

Consider this - a copy-protected CD can’t be read in some CD-players, and can’t be easilly read on the computer, which prevents listeners from loading the music on their portable players. This means that many people will find it difficult or impossible to listen to such a CD. Same goes for file DRM. If you use iTunes, only people with iTunes and iPod will be able to listen to these files. If someone has a neat Cowon player, he won’t be able to listen to your stuff on that player.

However, if one downloads pirated files from RS or whatever - these files are not “protected”. One can listen to them on every player without any hassle. What this means that as soon as you protect your files you make the pirated files more valueable than your legal ones. If pirated material contains more value than the legal one - we’ve got a problem. If you want to reach the people with your music, you should make listening to your music a good experience for them. If you outright treat your potential listeners as assholes, idiots and thieves, you will never gain the respect you want. Believe me.

I’m definitely not a supporter of piracy, but I’m all against copyright protection. At least till someone invents a technique, that allows me to listen to the files the way I want to, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen.

As an artist you should always remember one thing - you’re making the music for someone to listen to it. Preventing people from listening to the music is the exact opposite of what you want to do.

So, really - don’t protect. Instead, promote yourself, be friendly with your listeners, get fans and get a good distribution (either digital or “real-world”) to make buying your records easilly. You’ll get your money then.

Hadn’t thought of that.

Although any server can crash, get hacked and digital files can always be tampered with.

But then again it’s not a complete impossibility to steal a rubber stamp from a Post Office…

Although you obviously need stamps that also were available at the date you stamp on it but bit of researching plus Ebay and I’m pretty sure Bob WILL be your mother’s brother.

One thing - its not about politic, really.

Its about recipitiens of your music.

I will give you example - I am not really into DRM today especially with CD - but I am almost sure that I woudnt be able to play DRM records on my Linux box.

During my visit in London last day and attack for music shop - i was checking every fuckin CD to make sure that its DRM free. Fortunately all 15 CD which I wanted to buy and I bought finally were DRM free. Awesome. But I spend almost 30 minutes just for noothing…

Please, don’t push more guys into this stuff :P


The logs and stuff like that is not a proof in court. The important thing is the testimony by the representative of the website or some other people who trust the song has been on the site and have data to back up their claims.

With postage, you can check the logs in the mail service, but there is noone to testify that this is exactly the same package and it contained your music while it was being posted. Stamps are really easy to forge and this doesn’t hold in court at all.

Also if you want to be completely sure, check out this topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trusted_timestamping

my reply was aimed at the reply cralias made to your question, not to you directly (that’s why i quoted him). although, if you care, you can read up about the history of modern art and related stuff.

There is no such thing as effective DRM or “copy protection”. There is a lot of pointless fannying around designed to please recording industry executives, but even they are more or less giving up now since it doesn’t make an atom of difference to illegal copying and just pisses off the paying customers. It is logically and physically impossible to make data “uncopyable”. If you can play it, you can copy it.

I’m also not aware of any attempted DRM schemes which would actually be accessible to the average Internet user; I suspect they are provided in the form of large-scale commercial contracts with music publishing companies.

Suva’s right on this: if you want to make it so people can’t copy your audio tracks, don’t release them. Just play them at parties or something.