Steve Jobs Would Ditch DRM "in a heartbeat"

MCMTuesday, February 6, 2007

<a href="http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/"Steve Jobs wrote a little newsy article on the Apple site about the state of the music industry, laying out why things work the way they do with the iPod and iTMS. I can't say that I entirely believe his spin on this (it's certainly plausible that PART of the reason they don't license FairPlay is because of the repair logistics when it's compromised), but the one part that is very interesting is this:

The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

If for whatever reason the big four music companies are suddenly taken over by humans, and those humans change their policies about DRM, I would be VERY interested to see if Apple follows through with this promise. It's always been assumed, I think, but now it's there in black and white. Very big promise to make.

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