February 6, 2007 12:10 PM PST

Apple's Jobs calls for DRM-free music

In a rare open letter from CEO Steve Jobs on Tuesday, Apple urged record companies to abandon digital rights management technologies.

The letter, posted on Apple's Web site and titled "Thoughts on Music," is a long examination of Apple's iTunes and what the future may hold for the online distribution of copy-protected music. In the letter, Jobs says Apple was forced to create a DRM system to get the world's four largest record companies on board with the iTunes Store.

But there are alternatives, Jobs wrote. Apple and the rest of the online music distributors could continue down a DRM path; Apple could license the FairPlay technology to others; or record companies could be persuaded to license music without DRM technology. The company clearly favors the third option.

"Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats," Jobs wrote. "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."

Jobs' letter is a bit surprising in that Apple, with the most successful online music store on the planet, has profited by including DRM technology in its products, said Mike McGuire, an analyst with Gartner. "I think it's really interesting that the company that's the greatest beneficiary of DRM systems is basically telling the industry, 'This is a problem, you need to fix this,'" he said.

RealNetworks saw Jobs' letter as a vindication of its efforts to encourage interoperability between music services, which led as far as the Harmony software that allowed songs bought from other online stores to play on the iPod.

"We've been talking about the need for open formats for a very long time," said Dan Sheeran, senior vice president for digital music at RealNetworks.

The letter appears to address critics of the iTunes Store in Europe, most recently evidenced by a decision in Norway, where regulators deemed the iTunes Store illegal. An Apple representative said the letter was not written in response to those recent legal decisions.

"Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries," Jobs wrote. "Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free."

"You've got to hand it to Steve Jobs; he knows how to attract attention and how to deflect attention," said James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester Research. "He turned the whole European DRM question on its ear. 'You want me to open up FairPlay? Well, I don't even want FairPlay.'"

The Recording Industry Association of America, however, issued a statement interpreting Jobs' letter as an offer to license the FairPlay technology.

"Apple's offer to license FairPlay to other technology companies is a welcome breakthrough and would be a real victory for fans, artists and labels. There have been many services seeking a license to the Apple DRM. This would enable the interoperability that we have been urging for a very long time," it said in an e-mailed statement.

Opening the FairPlay DRM technology wouldn't be a wise strategy because Apple would have to give up the secrets of how that technology works, and it's likely that a hack for the technology would appear very quickly, Jobs wrote. Under its agreement with the record companies, Apple has just a few weeks to fix FairPlay if a breach is detected--otherwise the record company can pull all of its songs from the iTunes Store, he wrote.

"Apple has concluded that if it licenses FairPlay to others, it can no longer guarantee to protect the music it licenses from the big four music companies," Jobs wrote in his letter.

An Apple representative declined to comment on the RIAA's interpretation of the letter.

CONTINUED: The limitations of FairPlay…
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publicity stunt
Another lip service publicity stunt email by Jobs written to fool only the macfans club...
Posted by khurdus (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
so you're NOT for having mp3's sold without DRM? Because,
publicity stunt or not, I sure am.
Posted by Lamppost0 (28 comments )
Link Flag
And one hitman told the mafia leader: "I believe the world should be crime-free; why don't you solve the problems with reasoning?"
Posted by Shef Seattle (26 comments )
Link Flag
And one hitman told the mafia leader: "I believe the world should be crime-free; why don't you solve the problems with reasoning?"
Posted by Shef Seattle (26 comments )
Link Flag
publicity stunt
And if this letter was signed "Bill Gates", you be first in line, telling
everyone what a great idea it was.
Posted by GGGlen (491 comments )
Link Flag
Publicity Stunt?
So posting information about your own company's position on your
company's web site is now a publicity stunt?

And I suppose ignoring the issue (people whining about "closed"
iTunes) would be considered arrogant.

Kobayashi Maru.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Here's one of the hallmark of a small intellect:
unfounded assertions rather than reasoned criticisms.

What, exactly, leads you to make this assertion?
Posted by larryc92039 (41 comments )
Link Flag
No clue
First get the facts straight before shooting off. DRN does
nothing for the iTunes/iPod combo. I have 2 iPods and have
others purchase iPods and NONE of the music on any of them
are from the iTunes store.
Secondly, this is 100% correct in him saying this. The recording
industry is the factor pushing DRM. They don't want to let go of
their grip. Look at their failed attempt on CDs screwing up
people's computers and the like.
I find it ironic that as Steve said in his announcement

"Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European
countries. Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation
should redirect their energies towards persuading the music
companies to sell their music DRM-free. For Europeans, two
and a half of the big four music companies are located right in
their backyard. The largest, Universal, is 100% owned by
Vivendi, a French company. EMI is a British company, and Sony
BMG is 50% owned by Bertelsmann, a German company.
Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others
DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace.
Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly."

True...so true
Posted by mstatton (18 comments )
Link Flag
This is not much of a publicity stunt. If you remember when the iTunes store cames out, the restriction was added, as Jobs stated, at the insistence of the record companies. The plan was basically to get the record companies to start allowing online sales at all and to work from there.
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
Jobs and Gates Finally On the Same Page
It's great to see Steve Jobs and Bill Gates publicly denounce DRM (Gates did so last month at a conference). Now that the Two Giants of Technology have spoken up, I wonder if the Recording Industry will listen.... or will they wait until they have no other choice.

Any idea what Jobs means when he speaks of "the most serious problem is that licensing a [FairPlay] DRM involves disclosing some of its secrets to many people in many companies, and history tells us that inevitably these secrets will leak"?
Posted by toosday (343 comments )
Reply Link Flag
He's probably referring to CSS
"the most serious problem is that licensing a [FairPlay] DRM involves disclosing some of its secrets to many people in many companies, and history tells us that inevitably these secrets will leak"?"

Most encryption works on a public key/private key system. To decrypt the file you must have access to the key. CSS, the encryption used for DVD's, was broken years ago because one of the manufacturers let the key out. Since then, DVD's have been easy to decrypt and copy.
Posted by scarface74 (44 comments )
Link Flag
> Any idea what Jobs means when he speaks
> of "the most serious problem is that licensing a
> [FairPlay] DRM involves disclosing some of its
>secrets to many people in many companies, and
> history tells us that inevitably these secrets
> will leak"?

If the details of Fairplay are leaked, then they will get hacked, hence, goodbye DRM. So what Jobs is saying that if 10,000 developers have access to Fairplay, it won't be effective any longer.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Link Flag
Actions speak louder than words
If Microsoft and Apple decided to play it rough and throw away DRM altogether in new negotiations, then I could see the RIAA and MPAA reacting.

These are words, and hopefully words that will some day end this corporate fascism over consumers.
Posted by airwalkery2k (117 comments )
Link Flag
MS Has to be...
Microsoft's entire business model depends on being able to license their software to various different hardware makers, and more recently, media providers across the industry.

To that end, Hollywood's DRM demands are a direct threat to this model, since you cannot openly license your DRM schemes. Openly licensing DRM schemes defeats their point, as it reveals their technologies and becomes only a matter of (usually a very short) time before it is defeated.

So at the end of the day, the only real effect they have is penalizing the legitimate customer. If you buy the product legitimately, you've paid as much for something that you once had the ability to play back to yourself anywhere -- as long as you could afford the target medium -- that you can now only use in a very limited scope.

Either that, or you've decided not to even bother anymore, which -- guess what Hollywood? -- is doing about as much to help slumping sales as illegal downloading...
Posted by phantomsoul (50 comments )
Link Flag
I'm a Mac(s) and iPod owner, I have an account on iTunes Store
but I bought only one CD till date. Why? Because of DRM. I won't
give a dime for something that I cannot possess. How do I know
that in 20 years I will still be able to play the music with the DRM
of today on the equipment of tomorrow?

So I still buy my music the old fashioned way: go down to the CD
store, buy the CD, and rip it to MP3 (or even better -- lossless). I
have amassed hundreds of CDs this way (I paid probably a
fortune). I would surely buy it from iTunes as it is usually
cheaper and convenient -- but please, no DRM!
Posted by lixpaulian (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
yea right
Jobs is full of crap. there is no way in the world that he will ever support opening up FairPlay, opening up DRM or anything which will bring down the sales of Itunes, etc.
If Jobs was so against DRM - why are songs by performers such as Avril Lavinge (spelling error, sorry) being sold WITH DRM from Itunes, when the label itself does not require DRM on its songs??

Apple insists on putting the DRM on the songs!

Steve Jobs should jump off a bridge, I'm sick and tired of hearing about how itunes, ipod, mac etc is better than everyone else in the world when there are MAJOR shortfalls on all of their products.

I wish the Government would arrest him and put him in jail over the Options Scandal that Apple is going through, its the only way to shut him up and end his blatent over-the-top marketing/lying .
Posted by explorer5 (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Some great ideas!
First of all, it's a great idea to jail everyone that you don't agree
with. Someone makes a product you don't like, "Off with their
head". Viva La Revolution!

Second, the iTunes Store is not a big money maker. It covers
distribution costs, studio royalties with a little bit left over. The
money is in iPods not in iTunes. Read Apple's financial filings if
you don't believe me.

"In the letter, Jobs says Apple was forced to create a DRM system
to get the world's four largest record companies onboard with
the iTunes Store."

So you think the music companies were actually ok with DRM-
free music/movies? The whole DRM thing was just Apple feeling
a bit evil? Tell you what, get on out there and start negotiations
with those music labels. You can provide the world with DRM-
free content. I'm sure they are dying to get their digital media
out there with no copy protection attached.
Posted by sbwinn (216 comments )
Link Flag
Just admit your poor...
Life would be so much better for everyone if you (and most
other Apple haters) just could admit that you're angry because
you are poor.

Apple creates premium products and premium products are by
definition priced so that more than 50% of the consumers who
wants them are to poor to buy them. That is how you create a
sustained brand value. Poor and uncool people cannot be seen
using the premium product. It would kill the brand.

Its people like you who makes us Apple customers feel richer,
smarter and with better taste than the average guy.

So instead of bashing on Apple and Steve Jobs with confused
arguments that is not based on facts and completely void of
logical reasoning, why don't you just admit that you are angry
because you are poor? And stupid? And totally without all forms
of taste?

I mean, your life sucks anyway so why not admit it? Just don't
blame it on Apple because Apple and Steve Jobs didn't create
your misery. They just created vastly superior products and
services that you can't afford to buy.

Life suck and then you die.
Posted by flowerboy2001 (25 comments )
Link Flag
You are probably poor or lower middle class and can't afford Apple products
explorer5 - it's obvious that you're a Microsoft Fanboy but you're
completely delusional and in so much self-denial to think all those
apple adds are false wake up from your coma that is your pathetic
PC (Piece of Crap).
Posted by nine9nin (7 comments )
Link Flag
Apple and DRM
I personally think Apple have done well on putting DRM on music and other media whilst not being too restrictive, but I have to admit DRM needs to go.

Josh Chandler
Posted by jchandler15 (30 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Load of bull.
What is described in the article is not a DRM-free world. Jobs described what would happen if all players can play music from any online store they purchase from. That would be a UNIFIED DRM, not DRM-FREE. As for embracing it in a heartbeat? No one's going to beleive you there. Because if you did, you would would've licensed FairPlay to other online distributors long time ago. Nice try in being the nice guy Jobs, but you full of it just as Gates is.
Posted by Daemon_TO (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Uh, read the whole article
Jobs clearly calls for the abolishment of DRM. He is saying that if the music labels would allow it, Apple would remove FairPlay from ITMS.

Where did you read about a unified DRM?? Literacy is overrated, I suppose.
Posted by Thataboy (2 comments )
Link Flag
You should read the article more clearly
He decribes:
"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 not Unified Drm. Just read it more again.

As for not licencing FairPlay, read the article more closely.
"a key provision of our agreements with the music companies is
that if our DRM system is compromised and their music
becomes playable on unauthorized devices, we have only a small
number of weeks to fix the problem or they can withdraw their
entire music catalog from our iTunes store."
He then ties that to licencing FairPlay by stating
"Apple has concluded that if it licenses FairPlay to others, it can
no longer guarantee to protect the music it licenses from the big
four music companies"

I don't mind pointing out inconsistencies, but do get your facts
Posted by basscl (1 comment )
Link Flag
you wallowed in it?
He said DRM free, not DRM open. Understand the difference?
Licensing is not an issue if there is no DRM to begin with.
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Link Flag
not really a publicity stunt..
DRM was brought up from the record labels, not apple. Now under
some agreements from the Record Labels, Apple can't license their
DRM to other companies because the actual Labels want their
music sold on iTunes because of Market Share and Apple is just a
distributor, not the actual owner of the music so they have to play
the rules of the game. This is all about money and how the record
labels want every penny from every album they sell. If it weren't for
Apple, we wouldn't have 99cent downloads. If this is how he feels,
then that would be great for everyone...
Posted by blrhead (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oh yes...
Yes, and I think we should all have free i-pods too. This Job guy's brain only stretches in his preferred direction. If you want to kill creativity, this is the way to do it.
Posted by M.Hat (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get a clue. . .
Yeah, you're right. Steve Jobs kills creativity. But I guess that kind
of reasoning is to be expected, what with your inclusion of "i-pod"
and "Job."
Posted by FormerPCwonk (282 comments )
Link Flag
Vision and clarity
It is just amazing read.

No one else in the tech and entertainment industry understand consumers as Apple and Steve Jobs.

When reading his open letter, you feel his confidence that in a DRM free music world, Apple would be a bigger winner than today. It is clear that iPod is more popular than iTunes, and as Apple make little profit from music sales, they would love to sell iPods to music lover who may prefer other music stores.

What is also interesting is Steve's clarity and vision which we never see from MSFT, DELL, HP or ADBE on how we user would like to see and use technology.

When was the last time Michael Dell wrote something of this quality. He talks about cutting bonuses, reduce staff, increase sales budgets, reorganizing the business etc etc. He is clearly more interesting in quarterly earnings conf. calls with analyst than writing vision letter on how DELL customer would like their use of tech change their world for the better. (we all knwo what Dell said about Apple last time)
Posted by Swiss in Zurich (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I CAN imagine that world.
"Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats," Jobs wrote. "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."

I CAN imagine that world. It was what the world was like BEFORE APPLE STARTED SELLING MUSIC.
Posted by anutron (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
You're imagining a world
where little to no music is sold online, but lots of it is stolen.

What Jobs is talking about is a world where the iTunes Store and
others sell music online at reasonable prices and reasonable people
don't steal it. You know, like the way software is sold. Excluding of
course, Windows, with it's own DRM requiring activation codes.
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
That World Still Exists!
I'm sorry. I just can no longer tolerate the idiotic rantings of
some of the commentors to this blog. The pre-iTunes world that
you long for is still available in every detail and facet of its
orginal form. CDs, portable, medium-priced and (extremely)
high-end CD decks are all available. Pre-iPod MP3-style players
are also available. You can still buy MD players. You can still
steal non-DRM music using P-T-P software and you can still
buy, borrow or steal CDs, rip and burn them again or copy them
to your MP3 player. iTunes and iPods are OPTIONS and millions
of music-lovers all over the world have chosen that option
because it works and it is convenient. No one is forcing you to
use iTunes or iPods. If you have a problem with it, JUST SAY NO
and quit whining. It's really starting to get boring.
Posted by Mac User Too (172 comments )
Link Flag
misplaced hate?
What you're referring to is the world before legal MP3 downloads. It has nothing to do with APPLE. There are no legal DRM free sources of major label music. Independent labels, yes, but not RIAA members. (Though I hear yahoo is experimenting lately) The RIAA is the culprit, not APPLE.
(No, I'm not an APPLE fan, have never bought an iTunes song.)
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Link Flag
Easy for him to say
While I hate to sympathize with the recording industry due to their cruel tactics of going after the 'little guy', they do have a serious issue with piracy that creates the need for DRM.

Steve Jobs doesn't give a rat's a$$ whether there is DRM or not as long as whatever the medium is can play on an iPod. In fact, it is probably cheaper for him to not have to deal with DRM. Don't get it twisted, he is not preaching for the sake of the end-user.

The problem with the record industry is that they helped create a standard, CD's and CD players, without the forsight that eventually people would rip and distribute thier content. DRM for music is nothing more than a retro-fit solution. DVD's have the same problem although they at least tried to encrypt the contents.

RIAA, you want to stop people from stealing your stuff, quit trying to duct-tape DRM onto your current goods and create new goods. Create a new medium and phase out CD's. You did it before with records and cassettes. This time think ahead.
Posted by NewsReader_ (280 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DRM didn't work for software,
it hasn't worked for music, and it won't work for movies either. It
always costs more than it saves.

DRM doesn't work. Accept the fact and move on, or it will cost you.
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
subscription music isn't cool
Subscription music isn't "cool" or an interesting scenario to consumers, or at least it hasn't been so far. It's been largely unsuccessful, and if music is cheap enough and easily accessible enough, it becomes more or less useless. Why would I pay $10 a month to listen a song I could buy for $1?
Posted by SuperRJMan (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
$10 for one song???
Do you just buy 1 song each month and listen to that over and over? Then subscription won't work for you. Usually you listen to some music for a few months and move on. Most of the music produced won't be played after 10 years. Only 1% will become classics and is worth buying. And that kind of stuff you would buy DRM-free anyways.
Posted by Shef Seattle (26 comments )
Link Flag
RE: subscription music isn't cool
Maybe you are right and subscription music isn't that cool for everybody - but your reasoning is weak. Are you really listening to one song per month? That would be quite unusial!

In real life people listen to hundreds of songs per month, and if they are interested in listening new songs, not the same old suff they bought last year, subscription could be quite reasonable solution for some...

I personally do not use subscription because current DRM rules are too awkward and restricitive, but I certainly spend more on buying music than monthly subscription fee would cost me.
Posted by Dandy55 (66 comments )
Link Flag
I agree
I want to pay for a track once and play it as many times as I want. I'm not interested paying a monthly fee.
Posted by larryc92039 (41 comments )
Link Flag
Finally, someone, besides myself, has noticed that morality cannot be legislated. That no matter what the big media companies do, there will be pirates.

The trick is to figure out how to sell music, videos and such, in a way that people would prefer to obtain them legally. That piracy would just be a fringe aberration that doesn't really harm the business.

I'm not smart enough to know the answer to this. I hope someone figures it out, because what we have now with DRM doesn't work.
Posted by DavidSommers (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So we should get rid of all the laws against theft "because morality
cannot be legislated"? When this happens let me know what kind of
car you have and where it is.
Posted by deggie (5 comments )
Link Flag
I totally agree
If it's easy and cheap to buy a non-DRM track, most people will do it out of convenience. You will always have losers who want to stay up all night looking for downloads but personally, I have better uses for my time and I'd rather just buy the track or album. Same goes for DVDs. Get rid of the "manufactured defect" copy protection schemes and I'll start buying them again.
Posted by larryc92039 (41 comments )
Link Flag
...And that is more or less what Apple has done.
"The trick is to figure out how to sell music, videos and such, in
a way that people would prefer to obtain them legally."

Well, that's what Apple is trying to do with the iTunes store.
They have this neat jukebox software (iTunes) that lets you
organize and manage your music library (including burning
tracks to CD or loading them onto your iPod), and they have
their store integrated right into iTunes. In the iTunes music
store, you have an effective search and navigation system so
that you can easily find what you are looking for, you can
browse for similar music, you can play preview clips to make
sure you've *really* found what you're looking for. You know
that you'll get a high-quality recording of exactly the song you
want, complete with artwork and other metadata, the song will
accurately file itself into your jukebox, your downloads are
managed by iTunes and optimized so that the smaller files come
first, and they come from known high-bandwidth servers on
high-speed connections. In other words, Apple has developed a
system for the legal distribution of music which provides enough
advantages for the average user that it's worth the $1 just for
the convenience and quality of service. Billions of songs later,
Apple has proven its point: Give people convenience and qualty
and they'll pay for the product. After all, just about everything
that the iTunes store sells is also available illegally, without
DRM, and for free...and that doesn't seem to have hurt Apple's
sales that much.

I wonder if the movie studios will figure it out as well. You know
they could put most of the movie pirates out of business if they
did universal release dates and had movie theaters sell DVDs of
new releases starting on day of release...and with theaters
converting over to digital projection, all the excuses for NOT
doing it this way will go away....
Posted by RideMan (81 comments )
Link Flag

"So we should get rid of all the laws against theft "because morality
cannot be legislated"? When this happens let me know what kind of
car you have and where it is."

That is not what he said at all. He said that "The trick is to figure out how to sell music, videos and such, in a way that people would prefer to obtain them legally." This does not translate to "abolition of all laws." This is a strawman argument, and a very badly used one, I might add.
Posted by Dark_Tyrant (5 comments )
Link Flag
You are missing the point
To say that "Subscription music isn't "cool" or an interesting scenario to consumers" is flat out wrong and you're obviously not getting the point. Don't assume that since you're not using it, it must be a bust.

You don't pay $10 / month for a song you could buy for one dollar...that WOULD be stupid. You pay it to listen to whatever you want, and not be limited to the various songs you've purchased online. Seriously, how many of the CDs you've purchased (if you're honest) in your lifetime that you can definitely say you still listen to...all of them, half of them?

Hopefully it's the former and buying songs one by one (or CD) works for you. It doesn't for me, and I'm ok with paying a monthly fee to access (and take with me) whatever's out there...it's the variety...spice of life...you know? Subscription models introduce you to all kinds of new music...I'd be really upset if that was no longer available.
Posted by WileySkier (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What a hypocrit!!
Apple is by definition a company that thrives on closed proprietary systems.

Hey Jobs, why do you continue to cripple MacOS so it can't be run on any x86 hardware? Are you that scared of Dell, Toshiba, Sony, Asus?

For a company like Apple to call for a "DRM-free world" is the height of hypocrisy.
Posted by mbenedict (1001 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You're confusing
copy protection with quality assurance. One of the major flaws in
the Windows ecosystem is that it runs on any piece of junk with an
x86 processor. I'd love to blame all Windows problems on
Microsoft, but the fact is that if they didn't have to support all sorts
of cheap junk, Windows would be better than it is. I'm not saying it
would be good mind you, but it would be better.
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
Jobs is a TOTAL Hypocrite!
Hey Steve - YOU FIRST! Why don't you allow anyone who buys one copy of OSX to copy it as many times as they wish, share it with "friends" over the internet, or (gasp!) install it on non-Apple machines! You're asking the music industry to do the equivalent. ( And I realize you don't a rat's rear end about the actual musicians who try to make a living of the sales of their music.) Somebody needs to niche-slap Stevie back into the stone age. I can only hope the head of the 4 major labels get together for a photo opportunity, & have their picture taken with 4 middle digits extended in Steve's direction.
Posted by Zunny_Blowsdogs (9 comments )
Link Flag
Not so fast
Apple is hardware company. D'uh. Why would they want to let
their software run on someone else's hardware??? It's not about
crippling the OS. It's about creating a seamless user experience.

Look at what years of being able to run Windows on any old box
got us? On the positive side, a huge industry was created. On
the down side, consumers continue to spend needless hours/
days of their lives just trying to get their computers to work.

If the any-old-piece-of-hardware PC approach actually meant a
pleasant experience for the consumer, that would be one thing.
But it hasn't. And never will. Apple is able to deliver a superior
product because they control everything. You may not like this,
but I do.

I like the fact that my Mac just works. I like the fact that I never
have driver headaches, nor am I erradicting viruses and spyware
on a daily basis. I don't know a single PC user who doesn't
wrestle with his or her PC on a regular basis. Apple's "closed"
system is a huge benefit to the consumer. I wouldn't want it any
other way.
Posted by tahoerob (40 comments )
Link Flag
Who's the hypocrite?
Do you want DRM or not? Stop slagging people for speaking out against it. If you're opposed to closed systems and proprietary formats, then speak against them. Apple and Jobs have done plenty of stupid things, but this isn't one of them.
Posted by HandGlad2 (91 comments )
Link Flag
Value vs. JobsBashing
Steve Jobs is about providing value. And yes, if you provide
value, you make money -- hand over fist if you're also
marketing-savvy, articulate, sexy by design, and efficient about
operations. And that's why Jobs-bashing misses the point.

The iTunes store has always been about providing real value --
not just to consumers but also to the copyright holders. As he
summed up the history of the store's success in the context of
the iPod's success, "So far we have met our commitments to the
music companies to protect their music, and we have given
users the most liberal usage rights available in the industry for
legally downloaded music."

But if you are conspiracy-minded, remember that Jobs has a very
large stake in Disney, a major copyright holder. What works for
music might one day work for movies and TV shows. Everyone is
motivated by self-interest to some extent. In this case, Jobs has
articulated a vision that we can imagine as good for everyone --
consumers, manufacturers, and the software and content

And at the same time, Jobs has clearly fired a shot across the
bow of the big four music companies, which he not only names
but ironically points to their part-European ownership. If Jobs
feels the squeeze from European consumer groups, he is now
redirecting it back to the source of the problem. Steve Jobs has
put the music labels on notice. It may just be the right time to
do that, as pricing issues will resurface with licensing extension
negotiations between Apple and the labels, and DRM might also
be a major issue involving the Beatles music.

Tony Bove's iTimes
Posted by tonybove (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DRM source music is recorded at low bitrates
One thing for sure if you love your music, you rip it from the CD after buying the CD. I rip at the highest quality, because it just sound so good compared to the 128bit, that passes for online music. With a set of good cans and with or without a headphone amp, the music sounds great. Even when I play it in the car with the direct connect, the MP3 and other DRM music I have purchase pales by comparison. So I just don't buy much, and my player is well over 90% ripped from cd's.
Posted by mwsteel (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dang, you must not have many songs on that player
By "highest quality," do you mean that you actually rip them in AIFF format? That's the only way to get true CD quality - the highest quality available for the average consumer - but it costs you dearly in HD space on your digital player (and hard drive/DVDs where it's backed up. You do back up your music, right?)

AAC at 128 bit (for comparison, its quality is about the same as ripping in MP3 format at 192 bit, with a smaller file size) is about the best you can get and still fit your favorite few thousand songs and shows on a decent-sized player.

If you need CD-quality that badly - and I know that there are a few audiophiles out there who do - you should probably invest in a CD changer for your car, not a player that's designed to hold your whole music collection in *near* CD-quality sound, whether it be an iPod, Zune, PSP, Palm, or SanDisk.

But if what you're looking for is to avoid the lower quality of the MP3 method, you might want to avoid ripping in that format entirely (if you do). The ever-popular Wikipedia describes the problems it has rather well. Among others:

"... a natural side effect of the MP3 method is that it suffers a loss of information over time - bass frequencies - resulting in, often even to an untrained ear, distinguishable disfiguration of these frequencies, which can not be parried no matter how high bitrate the material is encoded in. Among the current, popular audio encoders, MP3 is alone in having this particular disadvantage."
(<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding" target="_newWindow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding</a>)

Happy listening, music lover. May you continue to rock on completely with some brand new components.
Posted by ratski (7 comments )
Link Flag
Let's see how altruistic Steve Jobs is.
I bet if someone built a website called "Steve Hates DRM .com" &#38; posted zips of installers for Shake, Apature,Final Cut Pro, &#38; any other overpriced Apple Software, along with the encryption keys, Steve &#38; Apple's legal department would be suing a a heartbeat. Why Steve? I thought you didn't like DRM? A hole hypocrite. Yeah.Steve cares about consumers, Right. And my name's Zanny Blowzdogs.
Posted by Zunny_Blowsdogs (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
On the chance...
...that you're obtuse and not just a troll...

Allowing the possibility of breaking a rule is not the same as
ADVOCATING that the rule be broken. It is also not the same as
IGNORING those braking the rule.

For example, most cars can break most speed limits, but that
doesn't mean the car manufacturers advocate speeding. It also
does not make speeding legal. The DRM approach to this
problem would be to force car designers to make cars that
CANNOT brake a speed limit. Notice that nobody is doing that.

Hope that helps you understand the difference.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
What encryption keys? All the apps you mention are distributed
by Apple unencrypted, and can be freely copied. Hell, Mac OS X
and all of Apple's consumer-grade applications don't even need
a serial number to install and use. As for the pro apps (with the
exception of Logic Pro, which uses a USB dongle for historical
reasons), all they recquire is a (easily copied) serial number to
install, like any professional application.
And guess what? The software still gets strong sales. Apple is
still the #1 platform for media production.

As for Steve and apple "caring for consumers", just step inside
an Apple Store and look at the service provided at the "Genious
Bar". What other company has customer service like that?
Posted by gsnixon (1 comment )
Link Flag
apple software is overpriced
Please, before talk or write about something you don't really
manage, please do a little of research.
A lot of people in the industry of content creation are in debt
with Steve Jobs and the people at Apple for the
"democratization" of the profesional video industry with the
launch of FCP and the software related to it.
Before FCP, only big companies were capable to afford the
purchase of editing technology who cost over 50K (in the best
case scenario). Today, and thank to apple, you can have the
same quality of software and results for under 12K (in the worst
case scenario). And what is more important: before FCP you
were forced to buy expensive propietary hardware that ONLY
work with his software. With Apple products that choice depends
on you.
OK, I am agree with you that the apple team may sue you if you
download an apple software from a page as you said, but: Why
someone have to do that? Apple software is really affordable.
Posted by Hernan Torres (1 comment )
Link Flag
Subscription music is a fricken joke, Digital Restrictions Mngt
Digital Restrictions Management that Jobs is referring to goes way back to when PressPlay was the only online music "distribution" store around. Since then, DRM hasn't changed. DRM is a joke and always will be a joke. Until the labels are forced to remove their DRM practices via Congress or pressure elsewhere, the RIAA and their members will continue to stick it to the consumers.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Idea well worth testing --- TEST IT OUT!
Who really knows if this is a ggod or bad idea for record companies. Mr. Jobs would be as fine a expert on the subject as anyone.

The only real way to answer this once and for all is by experimenting with selling DRM free music files like EMI has been doing. If all the record companies and digital music websites did some serious and complete testing then the results would illustrate the facts. Does DRM matter or not?

Also, subscription schemes would not have to be abandoned if music files that are 'sold' did not have DRM and 'rented' music could include DRM. There could be many different ways to do it.

Test Mr. Jobs idea out!
Posted by onlyauser (220 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Finally someone with common sense
I hope somebody in the music industry is listening.

I would pay for DRM-free music downloads, but hell will freeze over before I pay for DRM content.
Posted by vm019302 (85 comments )
Reply Link Flag
explorer5 has Apple Envy!!!
Hey explorer5, does your name imply that you bend over for M$
and are even stuck on their shoddy products from ages ago?

Sounds like you don't want to admit that your choice was the wrong
one. Be honest with yourself, buy a Mac already!
Posted by Dr Dude (49 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Music labels area dinosaurus
These 4 big labels will die in next 5 - 10 years. Music is the last area which did not adopted to the new reality - compare with telecommunication prices, CPU prices and so so on.

The reasons are simple:
- The amount of money which people spent on music DONT DEPEND of music price. If my kids got $20 for music - tehy will spend $20 on music. It can be 1 CD (unlikely) or 1 MP3 CD (in Russia) or they wil pay it for the snickers and download music for free - but they will spend the same $20. I spend the same money for the music, no matter what is the price (moreover, I never purchase expensive disks).
- If music is too expensive, people just use P2P network or purchase MP3 disk in Russia, or copy from the friends (DRM is not a problem in real life).
- If music is cheaper, people will have more music by the same price (but they will pay the same money).

Today I have disks (from all countries except USA) with 100 - 200 songs on each (MP3 CD), which I can copy into my car, into ipod, into my cell phone and so on. I never EVER (absolutely NEVER) purchase any music with DRM - never did and never do in the future. I will never purchase any player which will lock me in.

Many other people, including kids, do the same.

So, image that music labels changed. You can pay 10 - 20c per song and download it in MP3 format, you can purchse "ABBA GOLD" disk not in Russia but in USA, with 100 ABBA songs in MP3 format (for $15), you can go to a book store and download new 100 songs, released in the last month, for $20. Result - no one will use P2P (no need), you will have 20 times more songs in your households, and digital studios will got THE SAME money as they do now (replication music cost is 0 for them). Moreover, you will not purchase CD's in a box - you come to a books tore,. select 20 or 100 songs (or 10 albums), and have CD burned for you in 5 minutes - so expenses decreses for the music industry.

It's the same, what happened with Voice. Cisco predicted to traditional Telco 10 years ago - change your business or die. It happen - we pay the same monthly $20 - $50 for long distance calls we paid before, but we have 10 - 20 times more time to talk; we pay the same money to the cell companies we paid before - but we can talk 10 - 20 times more and can send data (and it's not just as _replicate disk_ as in music). We already pay the same money in Russia, for example - and have 20 times more songs on disks (no one in Russia purchase CD because everyone purchase MP3).

So, Jobs is 100% correct. DRM music is a fraction of all music, and making music DRM'ed just encourage people to avoid it or hack it (by blacking their perimeter, by hacking Sony weird DRM, and so on). DRM must die, because it don't hold any value and just prevent the whole indistry to change.

DRM can live for software (esp. minor niche one), for digital data, but not for the cosnsumer's.
Posted by alexei_roudnev (29 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And the Dinosaurus are no more
Alexei, your comment on this issue was the most on it that i
have read in a long time. It is difficult for people to just come
out and speak clearly and articulate what is going on in the
music world without the fuzziness. I am a music producer and
technologist and I also feel that the major music labels will have
to change their business model at some point or go away. Big
props to Steve Jobs for lending his stature and great visionary
status to hopefully help make the change much sooner rather
than later and to everyones benefit.
Ya know digital technology is dramatically changing the way that
we access all media and yet the music industry has been
notorious for holding us back. This cannot go on forever.

As a music artist and producer i want to get paid for my work
but more importantly i want to be at the forefront of technology.
I definitely DO NOT want to be seen as holding back progress
(the proverbial nail in the road) Up to now I have seen the music
industry be one of the first to embrace new technology and give
music lovers a better product because of it. We need to get back
to that and get back to our artistic roots. The real money and
future of the music industry is grounded in the creativity of the
recording artists, NOT in the corporate greed that breeds DRM
like policies and contempt in the music lover.
Posted by tetsuyo (50 comments )
Link Flag
well, you'll probably never believe me.. but "Explorer" comes from "Ford Explorer" of which I was obsessed with years ago - and the name just has stuck.. It has nothing to do with Windows or Internet Explorer - I SWEAR!!

You're free to make your other opinions about me(of which i dont agree) but i just wanted to explain where Explorer comes from!
Posted by explorer5 (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
you must thin about it again

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://iphone.emigrantas.com" target="_newWindow">http://iphone.emigrantas.com</a> - iPhone blog
Posted by darix2005 (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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