Linn: DRM is madness, openness is key

Linn Akurate DS - streamer that's open to everything
Linn Akurate DS - streamer that's open to everything

Speaking at the launch of the Linn Akurate DS series refresh, Keith Robertson, technical director at Linn, reinforced the UK audio company's stance on openness in the hi-fi world, blasting DRM and what it stands for.

The Linn Akurate DS is Linn's high-end music streaming kit, which has been updated with sound improvements and a chassis makeover.

Robertson has spent years working on the DS line-up, explaining: "Six years ago I was put in charge of the DS system.

"It was always intended to replace the CD but we didn't know when this was going to happen. Then last year we announced that we wouldn't be creating CD systems any more and focus on streaming."

This 'abandoning' of CDs was well documented in the press, with some marking it as the death of the compact disc.

For a relatively small company like Linn to garner coverage like this was impressive, but it showed just how ingrained the Linn is in the audio world – having spent nearly 40 years in the business.

Open standards

For Linn to continue its success in the industry, Robertson believes that openness in music is key.

"Music DRM is madness," Robertson explains.

"There is this paradigm that if everything is connected and controlled then it will save the electronics industry.

"But the problem is that companies don't agree and so their controlled systems don't agree."

Robertson's history is in software design and he believes what he learned in jobs prior to Linn has helped shape the Linn Akurate DS.

"I used to work at a mobile OS and took the that ethos of an open system design. Too many companies say that you have to use their ecosystem. But the value of an open system is that the user can adapt it how they want.

"Yes, we give our users the choice of a complete system but we wouldn't obligate that.

"Music belongs to the people who purchase it – you should be able to use it the way you deem fit."

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.