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Steve Jobs Proposes End to Music DRM

Thoughts on MusicA comment from Steve Jobs posted on Apple.com about a how an end to DRM would benefit consumers and that "Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat" has motivated lots of bloggers to write blog posts about the issue. You can see dozens of posts by tech bloggers responding to Jobs' Thoughts on Music on Techmeme. Technorati shows over 900 posts that link to Jobs' anti-DRM letter. Google BlogSearch shows over 300 linking posts.

The BBC reports that most analysts think Apple would benefit from DRM being dropped on downloadable music files. That probably explains why Jobs is interested in moving towards no DRM. He thinks it will benefit Apple's bottom line.
The abolition of DRM would enable all MP3 users to access music from any online music store, including iTunes.

"This is clearly the best alternative for consumers and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat," he said in a statement on Apple's website.

Analysts said such a move would benefit Apple as the market leader in the digital music marketplace.
Here are some highlights from the blogosphere:

  • Fast Company Blog: "This is an interesting turn of events--a huge corporation calling for partners to change their ways. Will the companies listen? With the billions of songs that sell on iTunes, 10% of all music sold according to Jobs, it just may happen."
  • Scoble calls Jobs the world's best linkbaiter.
  • Doc Searls: "This is the most encouraging thing I've read in awhile especially since it's coming from Steve Jobs."
  • Read/Write Web calls it a piece of propaganda from Apple: "Apple is positioning itself on our side, in the war against DRM. This is all very well, and a very commendable stance from Jobs and Apple. But I'm left feeling that surely there's more Apple can do to fight DRM than to simply give a hospital pass to the record companies?"
  • Nik Cubrilovic says give Steve Jobs his own blog. Unfortunately, Apple hasn't done much blogging at all.
  • Don Dodge points out that Bill Gates has been saying DRM isn't working for a while now.
  • Cult of Mac explains why Jobs ignored video DRM.
  • A Gizmodo graphic shows Jobs as a superhero zapping DRM with bolts of electricity.
  • The Bear Naked Ladies are for a DRM-free world.
  • Cory Doctorow: "I look forward to the day when the iTunes Music Store catalog shows a little warning icon next to those few holdout tracks sold with DRM, a skull-and-crossbones to tell you that you're about to buy some poisonous bits. Especially if Steve follows this up by offering iTunes videos -- especially the Pixar movies, which he directly controls as the single largest shareholder in Disney -- without DRM!"
  • Forever Geek: "If all music was distributed DRM free, piracy would continue, but the sales of music would most likely increase. Although I don't think that will ever happen in the future, not in my lifetime at least."
  • So Sue Me argues that Steve Jobs is using misleading statistics.
  • Red Sweater wonders if it is related to the Apple vs. Beatles settlement: "If they could sell the Beatles exclusively and DRM-free, what kind of precedent would that set for the rest of the industry?"
  • The Tech Beat wants the answer to this question: Will the music industry go along?
  • Ebooks Too? Bill McCoy at Adobe Blogs would like the ebooks DRM technology to just fade away as well.


  • Posted on February 6, 2007











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