Hmmm. Steve Jobs has just spoken out against the DRM (Digital Rights Management) syetem that’s in play at the moment in the digital music world. The upshot of this currently is that if you buy tracks from iTunes, you are limited to playing that back on an iPod.
This is all because…
“Since Apple does not own or control any music itself, it must license the rights to distribute music from others, primarily the “big four” music companies: Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI. These four companies control the distribution of over 70% of the world’s music. When Apple approached these companies to license their music to distribute legally over the Internet, they were extremely cautious and required Apple to protect their music from being illegally copied. The solution was to create a DRM system, which envelopes each song purchased from the iTunes store in special and secret software so that it cannot be played on unauthorized devices.”
DRM drives a lot of people nuts, and it sounds like Steve is among them as he is calling now for the “Big 4” to stop being so paranoid and let people who buy music legally do with it as they wish after purchase. The best argument for this is that the very CDs which are sold directly by the “big 4” can be imported or ripped to any number of computers, and copied at home countless thousands of times (if anyone could be bothered) whereas those who make the effort to get their online music legally have all sorts of restrictions placed upon them, despite the fact that if they wanted to, they could find the same tracks DRM-free on a filesharing site and not pay a cent. What are these companies thinking about??
I’m with Steve on this one. It makes for a much fairer and competitive market when people aren’t locked to one particular music player, one particular music store or limited numbers of copies or plays.
If the record companies are really serious about the future of music and want to promote legal downloads, then axing DRM is probably the single best thing they could do.