To paraphrase, he thinks that by getting Apple to (help) convince the labels to go DRMless, the boys in Cupertino would benefit in a number of ways:
- it makes the pending European lawsuits around Apple's closed-system a moot point
- it also deflects much of the bad press that Apple has been getting recently about their closed system onto the labels who inflicted it upon them
- it shuts the labels up who are complaining that Apple has too much influence
- it completely undercuts the subscription music business model
- it could be a death blow to companies like eMusic - Apple could quickly turn on unprotected indie + major content, it may take eMusic longer to do so
I think these are some good points, although I'd argue the point about it killing subscription services. I agree that a move like this would force the subscription guys to re-tool their model slightly. For example, the $15/month "to-go" models would not be sustainable in a world where users can sync and burn any track they get as often as they want. But, it *may* enable some interesting moves around marketplaces that support variable pricing of tracks (for example, Amie Street prices tracks based on their popularity).
Ultimately, what I think it would do is create subscription and/or advertising play-on-demand streaming (only) services. All of a sudden, those services whose content and links are most widely syndicated (Rhapsody and Last.fm come to mind) can flip on a model where for a small fee ($5/month?) anyone that stumbles across one of their playlists, charts, widgets, etc. can stream all songs in their entirety. Obviously, you could go to their destinations as well and listen all day long. If you want to take a song "to-go", then you pay for them and download an unprotected track at $1/pop (or less). While this could also be done with some of the free streaming services like Streampad, Webjay and others, what you lose with those is Quality of Service.... I'm a fan of those services, but the fact that I often hit dead links has me wondering how long before consumers get fed up (like back in the Napster 1.0 days where half the files you downloaded were corrupt, sounded horrible or were not the track they pretended to be).
As with most of my posts, this opinion is a work in progress, but I'd be interested in what others think.