The Open Music Model is an economic and technological framework for the recording industry proposed in 2003, which suggests that the only viable system for distributing music online is through a DRM-free peer-to-peer file sharing system. It is based on earlier research[1] conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The model proposed five necessary and sufficient fundamental requirements for a viable commercial peer-to-peer music distribution network:

  1. Open File Sharing: users must be free to share files on their hard drives with each other
  2. Open File Formats: content must be distributed in MP3 and other formats with no DRM restrictions
  3. Open Membership: copyright holders must be able to freely register to receive payment
  4. Open Payment: users must be able to access the system using either credit cards or access cards purchasable anonymously in cash from retail stores.
  5. Open Competition: there must be multiple such systems which can tie into each other’s file sharing databases. It must not be a monopoly through legal design

It was the first model to argue for a $5 per month all-you-can-download subscription fee, a pricing model later introduced by Yahoo! Music in 2005. The research behind the model showed that $5 per month was the optimal price point to maximize user participation as well as revenue.

Criticisms of the model include that it does not address the issue of piracy. [2]

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