Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Steve Jobs - Thoughts on Music

Steve Jobs has just posted an open letter to the major labels telling them to free their content and sell unprotected MP3s.

Apple - Thoughts on Music:

"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."

The main points he makes are:

  • You can't be succesful licensing DRM schemes since the more widely distributed they are, the easier they are to crack (since more people know how they work)
  • In his estimation, less than 10% of all music sold is unprotected (read: CDs) and requiring the digital providers to enforce it while the physical media doesn't won't solve the music industry's problems

I think both are valid points. Where it gets a little more sticky is with subscription services.... totally unprotected all-you-can eat would undoubtedly require a different business model than $15/month. Basically, most would need to move to a model more closely aligned to a wireless carrier model where you purchase the right to use X minutes (or songs)/month. Some providers may choose to have these be use-it-or-lose it credits, while others may offer rollover credits.

I'm sure I'll be thinking about this more tonight, and may add some more thoughts later....

No comments: