Steve Jobs: Apple would embrace DRM-free music 'in a heartbeat'

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  • Reply 41 of 175
    Here's an interesting -- and, in a way, sad -- comparison between Jobs and Gates, based on news.google.com (as of 8.10 PM EST, Feb 6, 2006), as a sign of the times:



    Jobs' comments: "Apple to Big Music -- Set It Free" 1231 news articles.



    Gates' comments: "Gates -- Protect Windows Vista Users with IP" 56 news articles.



    (Both comments are of roughly the same vintage).



    Similar to iPod v. Zune market share, don't you think! (Given this sort of asymmetry in worldwide share of attention, it's no wonder Gates sounded so ticked off at Apple and Jobs in a recent interview with Newsweek http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16934083/site/newsweek/).



  • Reply 42 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by meelash View Post


    The statistics he quoted (while he did twist them, by falsely assuming the average, to fit his interpretation, by ignoring the illegal music segment) clearly show that the huuuuge majority of people playing music on iPods are not using music bought from the iTunes Store. If you assume the more accurate (I think) interpretation of the data that the market is split into people who just use legal music and people who just use illegal and/or CD purchased music you can see that only around 2 million (2billion/1000 songs per iPod) of the ipods sold or 2.2% of iPods sold are to people who use the iTunes store to fill them. I, for example, am one of the others who does not own a single track from the iTunes store. So you're argument is pretty weak, that Apple should be fighting for DRM to lock in 2.2% of their customers. They would probably turn off more than that amount if it were revealed that they were supporting DRM.



    Apple never has and never will make most of their money on the iTunes store. Their money is made on hardware (iPods...and whatever else they can come up with).
  • Reply 43 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gar View Post


    I don't have a problem with DRM the way Apple uses it.

    I don't care actually.

    I do care about the quality of the music sold via iTS because it's rather poor at 128kbps.



    Lossless would make me consider downloads over CDs though.

    (although I would miss the artwork)





    IMO 192 VBR AAC would be close enough to lossless while still being relatively small in size. It will be very difficult to bite on the Beatles catalogue if it is only 128. Remaster or no.
  • Reply 44 of 175
    scottibscottib Posts: 381member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRussell View Post


    Eh? I don't recall saying DRM was the only advantage. It is an advantage for Apple, and a pretty big one. It's analogous to the advantage MS has in operating systems - it's hard for users to switch because of the investment Windows users have in software for Windows.



    My inference from your post, apparently incorrect, is that because iTunes content is locked to the iPod (or Apple consumer hardware offerings) that is the reason that the iPod and iTunes is successful.



    Steve's arguing that $22 is not enough of an investment for a someone to be bound to iTunes, and I would agree with him--but I don't think $22 is real-life true. Of iPod owners, most people purchased or have been given multiple iPods since 2001, say 2 or 3 (an iPod + mini, nano or shuffle), so that's $44 to $66 (even $100) "lost" if someone switches to a Zune. Re-ripping to 10 CDs is not that difficult or time consuming to switch to WMA or whatever.



    Honestly, I don't think this perceived lock-in is all that strong. People buy iPods because they are the slickest players, have cachet, and work with the best online media store. Losing DRM won't change that. Apple will still be number one--perhaps even gaining share from Zune and Creative owners who are locked-in to their devices. Apple has the advantage because it has the best mousetrap--not because of DRM.
  • Reply 45 of 175
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,422member
    Before Apple started the iTunes Store, Steve Jobs was quoted as saying, DRM was a waste of time - that someone would always find a way around it - it was pointless.



    People need to remember, before the iTunes Music Store opened, there wasn't any place Mac users could buy music online, other than a few "indie" sites that sold open MP3 music. The only people who could buy popular, big-label music were those that used Windows. Why? Because, Microsoft directly tied its DRM to its operating system, it still carries on this practice to this day. So, Apple, not wanting their users to be left out of digital music revolution, created the iTunes Music Store. However, unlike Microsoft, they didn't lock the DRM to the OS, instead they chose to base it around their cross-platform media framework, QuickTime.



    It's funny how short-sighted Windows users are. They have, Sony's DRM, MS Plays For Sure, MS Zune Marketplace, and iTunes. And all they can do is complain that iTunes locks them into the iPod! While us Mac users only have 1 option, iTunes. IS that Apple's fault? Nope. Apple has an OBLIGATION to the record labels to make sure the DRM remains intact or lose the license to sell the music. So, who's fault is it? Microsoft's of course. They made the wrong choice...



    * Maybe if Microsoft's DRM was cross-platform, Apple would of used it instead of needing to use another DRM scheme?

    * Maybe as Mac users, we would of downloaded music from a Plays For Sure store instead of setting legal download records from all of us buying from iTunes.

    * Maybe we would have bought a player from Sony, or Creative, or Samsung, instead of flocking to the iPod.

    * Maybe, just maybe the digital download market would have a very different landscape today if in the beginning, Microsoft would have really opened it's DRM and allowed Mac users access to the content.



    But that's not what happened. What happened? Apple made all the right moves. They leveled the playing field by using the Windows monopoly to their advantage. They also took advantage of the fact that Mac users as a whole are more willing to embrace new technology.



    Personally, DRM sucks. I'd rather it be removed, but I'm glad as a Mac user, FairPlay is the only option for us. So far Apple has proven to side more with the consumer when it comes to bargaining with the music labels for fair rights. The same can definitely not be said with Microsoft or Sony.
  • Reply 46 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wirc View Post


    Was it just me or did Steve sound so much saner and less megalomaniacal than he does in Keynotes - and much less of a jerk than he does in interviews?



    If he keeps this up he can publish a book, "Meditations."



    Maybe it could be carried around everywhere, as a sign of brand loyalty: "The Little White Book."



    Clearly you've never worked under him. He's neither insane, megalomaniacal or a jerk.



    He's blunt, consistent and extremely demanding of your best.



    If you don't like to work for people who expect to deliver something worth a shit then work for the other 96% of this Industry.
  • Reply 47 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Here's an interesting -- and, in a way, sad -- comparison between Jobs and Gates, based on news.google.com (as of 8.10 PM EST, Feb 6, 2006), as a sign of the times:



    Jobs' comments: "Apple to Big Music -- Set It Free" 1231 news articles.



    Gates' comments: "Gates -- Protect Windows Vista Users with IP" 56 news articles.



    (Both comments are of roughly the same vintage).



    Similar to iPod v. Zune market share, don't you think! (Given this sort of asymmetry in worldwide share of attention, it's no wonder Gates sounded so ticked off at Apple and Jobs in a recent interview with Newsweek http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16934083/site/newsweek/).







    Gate's is the kid who never even got picked to play a pick up game of basketball. So he went and amassed a fortune, built his own league and even offers the gym and still can't get anyone to pick him over Steve.



    He's still got the same pubescent voice that cracks at over 50 as he did when he went through puberty.



    He's got great business acumen--he knew how to amass a fortune by strangleholding a small market over time.



    Business acumen has nothing to do with style.



    Steve finally figured out how to have that acumen with style and it's pissing Bill off.
  • Reply 48 of 175
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,422member
    Say Apple did start licensing FairPlay, who's to say that others would even adopt it? Just because Apple sets it "free" doesn't mean it's going to start working with all the players and online stores. All those companies would have to build that support in. And knowing Microsoft's business tactics, those manufacturers may be locked in a contract with Microsoft.



    Conversely, Apple could easily own the entire market with FairPlay if they "opened" it up. What media player manufacturer wouldn't want access to iTunes content? And which online store wouldn't want to sell to iPod or Mac owners? Apple could make a helluva lot more money licensing FairPlay. And they could do so while still retaining the tight integration between the iPod and iTunes Store. They could easily make 2 cents on every song sold, 10 cents on every TV Show sold, and 50 cents on every movie sold as license fees. There's got to be another reason for it other than monetary.
  • Reply 49 of 175
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Clearly you've never worked under him. He's neither insane, megalomaniacal or a jerk.



    Have you worked for him? Very few people have had to deal with him, but he has quite a reputation that I've seen from several sources, seeing one counterargument isn't enough.



    My understanding is that when he gets upset he starts firing people, whether or not they deserve it. I've also read an account that at one time, he was fussy about the appearance of a circuit board that no one would would ever see, at the expense if circuit reliability.
  • Reply 50 of 175
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Great letter. Sets out the situation very nicely. What's MORE interesting is how much media attention this 'intervention' garners. I'm betting its going to be a lot.
  • Reply 51 of 175
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    If Apple wants to show that it will embrace DRM-free music in a heartbeat, why not sell all the indie stuff without DRM? The fact that they don't shows a hypocrisy right there.



    That's not to say that the handful of EU states aren't being hypocritical in not trying to beat down other DRM systems at the same time.



    I am still not buying their line that the licensing makes FairPlay vulnerable to being broken from the fact that the secret is in the hands of multiple companies. It doesn't make any difference. DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are all licenced DRM systems that have been cracked through reverse engineering, not from insider information. PlaysForSure hasn't been illegally decrypted that I remember, and that is licensed to possibly dozens of companies.
  • Reply 52 of 175
    bevosbevos Posts: 59member
    Steve caught between a rock and a hard place. Music industry want it, some consumers don't.



    As long as the rules and condition are clear at purchase, it a fair system.



    If you don't like DRM buy CDs like 90% of the world.



    Most people like the iPod culture and are loyal and happy.
  • Reply 53 of 175
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:

    If Apple wants to show that it will embrace DRM-free music in a heartbeat, why not sell all the indie stuff without DRM? The fact that they don't shows a hypocrisy right there.



    This is for consistency. It would be confusing if different songs were treated with different types of DRM. This was shown with PlaysForsure where different songs from different vendors had different DRM rules. It was a mess.



    Quote:

    PlaysForSure hasn't been illegally decrypted that I remember, and that is licensed to possibly dozens of companies.



    PlaysForSure has been broken many times. Bill Gates has spoken about how difficult it has been to keep it secure. That is likely why Zune has nothing to do with PlaysForSure.



    Tools have been created to strip files of Windows Media DRM, such as FairUse4WM, a program released on August 19, 2006 written by Viodentia has the ability to strip DRM from files protected with WMDRM version 10 and 11. However, on August 28, 2006 Microsoft released a new version of the individualized blackbox component (IBX) to prevent FairUse4WM from working. Within 3 days, a new version of FairUse4WM was released circumventing this fix. Microsoft informed partners that they are working to fix this issue again and issued notices to web site owners. They soon followed up by filing lawsuits. As of October 16th, distributors using the Windows Media DRM protection such as Sky Anytime, are up and running using a patched codec.
  • Reply 54 of 175
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    I agree with no-DRM, but Steve's oversimplifying the stats. Case in point, add in videos, photos, contacts and games, and suddenly that iPod may, in fact, be WAY more loaded with just 3% iTMS-puchased material than he lets on. I know my video iPod is about 50-50, iTMS purchases (BSG and Lost episodes, mostly, then a few albums I have purchased), then my photo library, then my ripped CD collection.



    Sure, I'm just a single data point, but I assume I am not the only one.
  • Reply 55 of 175
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,744member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    You are mistaken in some way.



    Only tracks bought from the iTunes Store are DRM protected. Tracks that you've imported yourself are not. Any track that you've bought from the iTS and is therefore DRM protected will not play on your phones, unless you remove the DRM by using QTfairUse 6 or similar, or burn the track to CD and rip it back to your machine.



    You know If you have a Mac you can use iMovie to strip away the DRM without having to burn to CD.
  • Reply 56 of 175
    meelashmeelash Posts: 1,045member
    In that case, that further supports my point..
  • Reply 57 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    If Apple wants to show that it will embrace DRM-free music in a heartbeat, why not sell all the indie stuff without DRM? The fact that they don't shows a hypocrisy right there.



    That's not to say that the handful of EU states aren't being hypocritical in not trying to beat down other DRM systems at the same time.



    I am still not buying their line that the licensing makes FairPlay vulnerable to being broken from the fact that the secret is in the hands of multiple companies. It doesn't make any difference. DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are all licenced DRM systems that have been cracked through reverse engineering, not from insider information. PlaysForSure hasn't been illegally decrypted that I remember, and that is licensed to possibly dozens of companies.



    This keeps being brought up but I don't think anyone really knows what the conditions of the various contract between Apple, the majors and the indies are. While I tend to agree that the indies wouldn't require it they might through iTunes. More likely, IMO, is that the major require Apple to sell all item on iTune under the same conditions. This might be why some indies pass on iTunes. I don't claim to know and I would be interested if there is other information but absent that we just don't know the conditions under which Apple is operating. I do think this letter is a prelude to the upcoming negotiations in May and we'll know more after that.
  • Reply 58 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    Now you're talking! We often hear musicians complaining that the labels

    take too much money for distributing the music. If musicians started signing

    with Apple to exclusively distribute their music thru iTunes, DRM forced by

    the labels would disappear. The "big four" would stagger toward extinction as,

    one-by-one, artist contracts expire and they sign with Apple.



    What makes you think musicians wouldn't want DRM protection?
  • Reply 59 of 175
    wircwirc Posts: 302member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Clearly you've never worked under him. He's neither insane, megalomaniacal or a jerk.



    He's blunt, consistent and extremely demanding of your best.



    If you don't like to work for people who expect to deliver something worth a shit then work for the other 96% of this Industry.



    Maybe you missed the point where this became clearly a joke ... like at the Mao reference ... or maybe you missed that my snarky remark had everything to do with media relations and not with employment at Apple ... or the point that it was just the way he seemed ... or the point where I never implied that I work in the computer industry.



    No need to get indignant.



    I have to agree, though, that he's probably not the demon he's made out to be. In architecture, we have the the uncompromising, blunt, demanding people at every level, and they get tougher as they get better. But they still are usually megalomaniacal, and I bet Jobs is too.
  • Reply 60 of 175
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    If I use Front Row to access another computer's media and the local machine isn't authenticated, Front Row says "server error" or something like that. I don't understand why they don't want the program to be honest about why it won't play a file.



    It's nothing to do with honesty--Apple has failed to go the extra step of writing a clear message while in Front Row, but the same situation in iTunes DOES produce a clear message.



    If you use iTunes (rather than Front Row) and try to play unauthenticated content, it says why. The fact that Front Row has one generic error in place of the several more detailed ones that iTunes uses isn't about dishonesty.
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