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

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  • Reply 101 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    Good stuff.







    Great.







    Good.







    This response appears to be attempting to pre-empt where I am going to take this. Are you saying that Apple thinks that piracy is a good thing for record companies? Really, I thought 3.) was the most no-brainer question of the three that I asked.



    Sorry, really wasn't trying to pre-empt anything, just be clear. Still willing to play
  • Reply 102 of 175
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,991member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post


    That depends what you mean by 'unencumbered music' and 'consumer rights'.



    Most sensible participants in this discussion aren't arguing for a free for all, just no less rights than currently exists with CDs and to bring the balance back away from the record companies to the consumers.



    Jobs is appearing to be standing on the consumer end of the see-saw now whereas the other end has the big 4 majors sat there with Microsoft. It remains to be seen whether Jobs is putting any effort in or ready to jump off his end of the see-saw and rocket us consumers skywards.



    Consumers never had the rights they have taken now with recordings. Never!



    When recordings first came out, around the turn of the 20th century, there was no way to make a copy. That remained true throughout the next 50 years.



    While recording from records was difficult, in the beginning, after WWII, with only open reel recorders, in the "good old days", and easier, but poorer recordings, made from cassette later on, today's copying is almost nuisance free. Perfect copies is the norm, and copying an entire album might take no more than a couple of minutes.



    That does change things. To all intents, that does amount to having 'unencumbered music' and 'consumer rights', even if it isn't recognized by law.



    I understand why content companies want DRM. I don't always agree that it works well, or is even, in the long run, beneficial.



    I also recognize that Jobs has been against it for a long time.



    The only reason why content companies didn't have DRM in the original cd specification was because it wasn't practical, and there was no need for it. I can tell you that it had been discussed.



    No one could have predicted just how widely available, and cheap, copying devices, and media, would become in the new computerized future.
  • Reply 103 of 175
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Either you didn't read the article thoroughly, or you didn't "get it".



    It's been known for a while that the average iPod has only about 23 iTunes bought songs on it. Nothing new there. Anything else can be moved around. Jobs is right. 23 bucks worth of music won't keep anyone on one system.



    I get it, I just don't buy it. The lock-in to iTunes is an advantage that snowballs over time. Buy a few things from iTunes, and you'll want to get an iPod to play them. Buy an iPod, and you'll want to buy from iTunes rather than some other service. It's an edge, and even if you believe it's a a small edge (I don't), we're talking 100 million ipods out there and a few billion tracks sold. With those massive numbers, even a small edge is important for them going into the future. I simply don't believe that Jobs would want to give that up just because it's so hard to keep up the DRM. Yeah right.



    Apple has a very good chance of becoming the MS of online entertainment media for the next several decades. And really, even more than MS, because they are the exclusive providers of not just all the content, but also the hardware. It's like they would be MS and IBM combined for this market. There's no way these business people at Apple are serious that they want to risk that just to appeal to dorm-room DRM freedom fighters.
  • Reply 104 of 175
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,991member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    If that is all they meant by the term, then that statement and Jobs' open letter are not at odds with one another. The term would also then make sense. But if it was referring to piracy of music, it didn't make sense.



    I agree, but having read it a couple of times, and having read most of what Jobs has said over the years about DRM, I believe my statement is the correct one.



    Coming from a business perspective, that of a partner in two companies over the years, one of which made audio equipment, my views of piracy mirrors what I think his are.
  • Reply 105 of 175
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    Where your logic falls down quite substantially is that pretty much all the music available through iTunes is already available via P2P. Selling DRM-free music from the iTS would therefore make no difference for most of the content. Not sure about the "iTunes exclusive" tracks, but your post seems to be talking about all tracks, not just the exclusive ones. In any case, even the exclusive tracks can be burnt to CD, ripped back (or have the DRM removed by other means) and then uploaded.



    It all boils down to the fact that some people are dishonest, and some are not. Offer a high-quality service with good content, and reasonable prices, and people will choose to use it over p2p.



    My logic does not fall because all the songs will come without DRM so there is no need to buy CD's to burn everything to and re-rip them every time you want to upload them. Hassle free is the key. People will be more aware that the entire public will have a massive catalog of DRM free music as it used to be.



    Popularity of free downloads will rise exponentially.
  • Reply 106 of 175
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,991member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRussell View Post


    I get it, I just don't buy it. The lock-in to iTunes is an advantage that snowballs over time. Buy a few things from iTunes, and you'll want to get an iPod to play them. Buy an iPod, and you'll want to buy from iTunes rather than some other service. It's an edge, and even if you believe it's a a small edge (I don't), we're talking 100 million ipods out there and a few billion tracks sold. With those massive numbers, even a small edge is important for them going into the future. I simply don't believe that Jobs would want to give that up just because it's so hard to keep up the DRM. Yeah right.



    Apple has a very good chance of becoming the MS of online entertainment media for the next several decades. And really, even more than MS, because they are the exclusive providers of not just all the content, but also the hardware. It's like they would be MS and IBM combined for this market. There's no way these business people at Apple are serious that they want to risk that just to appeal to dorm-room DRM freedom fighters.



    I believe that the "lock-in" is an assumption that has never been proven.



    While I agree that there are people who have hundreds, and even thousands, of iTunes bought content, those people are in a small minority.



    Most people who buy content are younger. They don't know about, nor do they care about, higher quality music sorces, or means of playback. For that large majority, re-recording a song bought on itunes for a different player would not result in diminushed playability. I've done that for people. They go away happy. And unlocked AAC sounds the same as locked AAC. All legal and all.
  • Reply 107 of 175
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onlooker View Post


    My logic does not fall because all the songs will come without DRM so there is no need to buy CD's to burn everything to and re-rip them every time you want to upload them. Hassle free is the key. People will be more aware that the entire public will have a massive catalog of DRM free music as it used to be.



    Popularity of free downloads will rise exponentially.



    Even with the hassle, seemingly every commercial recording is already available on P2P, whether or not it was on a CD or had encryption. So it gets on to the P2P networks a few minutes earlier is immaterial.
  • Reply 108 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by physguy View Post


    This is something we can actually discuss. At what point in time would you like to establish the "consumers' rights". How about when CD's were first introduced? That's not too long ago and I was actually alive then (just so I'm clear that is sarcasm). When I bought my first CD and player I didn't have capability, or was it the right (oops there goes that sarcasm again) to make perfect copies of that CD. The technology didn't exisit but I could take the time and pain to make an analog copy at 1x speed which, for most low end consumer stuff sounded crappy. It that how you would like to define consumer's rights? Rights vs capabilities?



    No. I'm in the UK. We've never had the right to make a copy of a CD or any other copyrighted work other than for the purposes of review, quotation or comment. This is all we're allowed under what we call 'Fair Dealing' and what the USA calls 'Fair Use'. If my understanding of US law is right, that's also the case in the USA. However, you have legal precedent that expands on your right of 'Fair Use' to include personal copying.



    Copying from one format to another is not what this is about. You can do that already with iTunes. Your argument is made of straw.



    The rights that are being fought for here are the right to take your music file and be able to PLAY it on any manufacturers player that supports the file format. With CDs I can take a CD and play it any CD players from JVC, Sony, Linn, NEC, Phillips etc. With a digital music file I'm generally stuck with Apple only software/hardware for the song I've bought. Similarly, if I buy a song on the Zune store, I can only play it on a Zune.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by physguy View Post


    Again, I agree with Jobs letter and getting rid of DRM on music, everyone will benefit. I'm just not willing to be hypocritical to get there which is what, in my opinion, calling for the 'consumers rights' is. Given the choice we all have, as Jobs points out, I really can't see how my rights are being curtailed.



    See above.
  • Reply 109 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    It all boils down to the fact that some people are dishonest, and some are not. Offer a high-quality service with good content, and reasonable prices, and people will choose to use it over p2p.



    Spot on.



    I'll add 'fast and easy to use'.



    Anyone who has spent any kind of time trying to get something off the p2p networks or via bittorrent knows it takes forever, is often incomplete, with a virus, not what it says it is, mangled by record companies or porn.



    Do you want to spend your evenings trying to download crap off of p2p or 10 seconds finding exactly what you want on iTunes?



    (Actually, I'd rather buy the CD from Amazon. I can generally wait a few days. )
  • Reply 110 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    There's a misunderstanding of what Jobs meant by the term "state sponsored piracy".



    He didn't mean more piracy of music.



    He meant that the state would be forcing Apple to do business with companies that they had rejected doing business with. Licensing software, and possibly hardware designs, to entities Apple had rejected doing business with in that fashion.



    That would be the same, in Apple's eyes, as those companies taking what they needed from Apple, and throwing Apple a bone for it.



    State sponsored piracy, yes.



    Interesting. I've not seen it put that way and every commentator I've read has taken it to be 'of music' instead of Apple's business. But the latter does make sense given Jobs' essay.
  • Reply 111 of 175
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,991member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post


    Interesting. I've not seen it put that way and every commentator I've read has taken it to be 'of music' instead of Apple's business. But the latter does make sense given Jobs' essay.



    Commentators are too quick to jump to conclusions. As none of them have run a business, they have no idea what a business person would consider to be important.
  • Reply 112 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    Given you buy iPods and DRM protected songs from iTunes perhaps the analogy isn't very apt. Don't like the terms don't buy a product and companies, regardless of size, will change to meet consumer demand as driven by a fair and free market.



    Don't like DRM, don't buy DRM restricted products. The issue will resolve itself when the companies see no revenues.



    That's obviously shaking out now since nobody is buying DRM'd content, sales of digital downloads has slowed dramatically at 3% of the total music sold and sales of music overall are falling.



    Sales of iPods and digital downloads are way behind the USA in Europe. Plenty of people don't want that crap here. More people are complaining about it too.



    I have to ask, why aren't American consumer bodies complaining too? Do you just let American business walk all over you?





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    This is a far cry from legislation in France. 3 years later you'd expect more progress than what happened to Apple in France.



    LOL! If there's ever somewhere to delay something, it's the EU. That's why most of the American tech companies like asking for injunctions in Europe against other American companies. See who's behind Microsoft's current woes in the EU. Hint - they aren't European companies.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    Say what? AFAIK there hasn't been a response yet. If they really wanted Apple to open up Fairplay they'd have forced the issue in France. They didn't.



    They didn't have a direct challenge to supply non-DRMed content back then from Apple.



    See http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/07/te...erland&emc=rss for the reaction from the music industry and Microsoft so far.





    The Norwegian Consumer Council also came out and said (paraphrasing) - "Ok, it's the record companies fault Apple has DRM but Apple are still the one selling the crap so Apple are who we're going after". And they're right to do it too. Under consumer law (in Europe anyway) your contract is with the shop keeper, not the manufacturer.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    Who else would it be? Its not like Apple released a root kit or had lawyers suing 10 year olds for downloading mp3s. Its not Apple adding anti-piracy systems to CDs.



    No. But now that Apple has accused the record companies of being the ones that want DRM, if it's found out that Apple wants it or wanted it and as someone else wrote he's just 'blowing smoke' knowing full well that the record companies won't call his bluff, then he's playing a sly hand.
  • Reply 113 of 175
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post


    That's obviously shaking out now since nobody is buying DRM'd content, sales of digital downloads has slowed dramatically at 3% of the total music sold and sales of music overall are falling.



    Sales of iPods and digital downloads are way behind the USA in Europe. Plenty of people don't want that crap here. More people are complaining about it too.



    I have to ask, why aren't American consumer bodies complaining too? Do you just let American business walk all over you?



    Because Fairplay is not a hassle for most folks and we're not quite as adverse to IP owners actually owning their IP. Folks have pushed back on RIAA's heavy handedness and sometimes its mildly annoying like when Disney decides to put some movie back into its vault but for the most part if the DRM just works it shouldn't be a problem (ie rootkits don't work and they suck...problem).



    That's hardly letting businesses walk all over us.



    As far as no one buying DRM'd content I didn't see any massive drop of DVD sales in Europe.



    Quote:

    They didn't have a direct challenge to supply non-DRMed content back then from Apple.



    See http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/07/te...erland&emc=rss for the reaction from the music industry and Microsoft so far.



    The Universal Music Group, the Warner Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment declined to comment. Only EMI said anything and that was to try to push the blame back on CE manufacturers. EMI might as well not bothered to comment.



    Quote:

    The Norwegian Consumer Council also came out and said (paraphrasing) - "Ok, it's the record companies fault Apple has DRM but Apple are still the one selling the crap so Apple are who we're going after". And they're right to do it too. Under consumer law (in Europe anyway) your contract is with the shop keeper, not the manufacturer.



    So what? Going after Apple isn't going to result in anything more than Apple killing their Norway site. That hardly helps the consumer. So much for consumer advocacy...self-inflicted boycott through legislation for everyone that doesn't agree with their position. Nice.



    Better to work on root causes which isn't at Apple's doorstep. Not that no DRM is ever likely from any studio. Digital theft does occur even if they exxagerate the economic losses. If "managed copy" works well enough that would be just fine.



    Quote:

    No. But now that Apple has accused the record companies of being the ones that want DRM, if it's found out that Apple wants it or wanted it and as someone else wrote he's just 'blowing smoke' knowing full well that the record companies won't call his bluff, then he's playing a sly hand.



    DRM isn't part of the core business model beyond keeping the studios happy. What is part of the core business model is making things work smoothly for their users and they manage that pretty well.



    Vinea
  • Reply 114 of 175
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,991member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post


    The Norwegian Consumer Council also came out and said (paraphrasing) - "Ok, it's the record companies fault Apple has DRM but Apple are still the one selling the crap so Apple are who we're going after". And they're right to do it too. Under consumer law (in Europe anyway) your contract is with the shop keeper, not the manufacturer.



    I don't understand your definition of "shopkeeper".



    If you are saying that the "manufacturer" isn't held up for blame, then you are also sying that Apple shouln't be. They are the manufacturer as well. How does one separate out the two parts? The shopkeepers are also the stores selling the iPods, and gift certificates.



    Quote:

    No. But now that Apple has accused the record companies of being the ones that want DRM, if it's found out that Apple wants it or wanted it and as someone else wrote he's just 'blowing smoke' knowing full well that the record companies won't call his bluff, then he's playing a sly hand.



    This goes back to the first part. If, as I believe it to be true from everything the music companies have said, and the actions of the other contents providers have shown, Apple had to use DRM despite their own preference, Apple's statements on this matter are true, and the EU groups are the ones blowing smoke.



    They SHOULD go after the recording companies. That would end the question at the source of the problem. But they won't. They won't want to damage EU companies.
  • Reply 115 of 175
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I believe that the "lock-in" is an assumption that has never been proven.



    It's not an assumption, it's a fact: iTunes music works with iPods and iPods work with iTunes music.



    Quote:

    While I agree that there are people who have hundreds, and even thousands, of iTunes bought content, those people are in a small minority.



    Most people who buy content are younger. They don't know about, nor do they care about, higher quality music sorces, or means of playback. For that large majority, re-recording a song bought on itunes for a different player would not result in diminushed playability. I've done that for people. They go away happy. And unlocked AAC sounds the same as locked AAC. All legal and all.



    I think the fact that someone had to ask you to reencode their iTunes-store music for them makes my point perfectly.



    Again, I just need to ask you to look at the big picture here: What benefit is it to Apple to have DRM? It encourages people to stay with iTunes/iPod. What benefit is it to Apple to get rid of DRM? Absolutely none. This letter was purely PR because they're involved in a threatening legal case in Europe over this. That's all.
  • Reply 116 of 175
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Timeline View Post


    What makes you think musicians wouldn't want DRM protection?



    I guess I thought that they would buy the argument that DRM actually

    decreases sales, relative to DRM-free. That was part of Steve's point

    in his letter.



    Also, if the Label middlemen were eliminated, the cut for the musician

    could be increased, Apple's cut could increase or stay the same, and

    the price to the consumer could stay the same or decrease.



    win/win/win
  • Reply 117 of 175
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Yes, look at Metallica. Greedy sons of bitches, with all of their supposed counterculture disguise. Musicians are no different from anyone else. They are in it for the money.



    One of Steve's points in his essay was that more music would be sold if it

    were offered DRM-free. This would mean Metallica would make

    more money. Clearly many musicians would not buy Steve's

    argument, just as the big labels don't.



    On the other hand, it is not fair to make a blanket condemnation of all

    musicians, based upon Metallica. There are many examples of professional

    musicians engaging in charitable activities, which I believe to be well

    motivated.
  • Reply 118 of 175
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Getting a record deal from one of the majors, or a label owned by one of the majors is the biggest prize in the industry.



    The majors' model for distributing music is being made obsolete

    by digital downloading. A record deal from one of them may not

    be seen to be the biggest prize forever. In fact it may be seen

    as giving a middleman, who contributes nothing to the creative

    process, way too much of the revenue raised from the music.
  • Reply 119 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I don't understand your definition of "shopkeeper".



    If you are saying that the "manufacturer" isn't held up for blame, then you are also sying that Apple shouln't be. They are the manufacturer as well. How does one separate out the two parts? The shopkeepers are also the stores selling the iPods, and gift certificates.





    I walk in to a record shop and talk to Jeremy behind the counter who sells me Kylie Minogue's latest album on the Parlephone label. As I've used above, Jeremy is the 'shop keeper', Parlephone are the 'manufacturer'. In European law my contract of sale is between the shop keeper and me, not Parlephone or Kylie Minoque. Parlephone are under no obligation to me and neither is Kylie.



    I get home and find the CD won't play on my CD player. Since the contract is between myself and the shop keeper I take it back to the shop to exchange.



    I get another CD but that doesn't play either.



    It turns out the CD has some kind of DRM on it that my CD player doesn't like. I take it back to the shop and explain that the CD isn't following the spec for CDs and doesn't play on my CD player which only plays proper red book CDs like Phillips designed it to. Clearly* the manufacturer of the CD, Parlephone, is at fault but that is irrelevant between me and the shop keeper who have a contract. He is supposed to sell goods that are legal and fit for the purpose intended. He in turn has a contract with Parlephone but that's for him to argue about, not me. And much as I'd like to chastise Kylie, it's not her fault either.





    So, moving to Apple, Apple here is the shop keeper and the only contract in dispute is between the consumer and Apple. That's what the Norwegians are saying. It's up to Apple to argue with the record companies and that's what Jobs is doing. It's not really the Norwegian Consumer Council's issue which legally is with the shop selling goods. The Norwegian Consumer Council are arguing that the goods sold (iTunes songs) are illegal in Norway. If it goes to court it'd have to be Apple in the dock, not the record companies.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    This goes back to the first part. If, as I believe it to be true from everything the music companies have said, and the actions of the other contents providers have shown, Apple had to use DRM despite their own preference, Apple's statements on this matter are true, and the EU groups are the ones blowing smoke.



    They SHOULD go after the recording companies. That would end the question at the source of the problem. But they won't. They won't want to damage EU companies.



    No. it's a matter of legal process. They can only go after the party that has the contract with the consumer. It's got nothing to do with protecting EU companies. Norway aren't even in the EU.





    * ok smartarses, I had the choice of buying a Debbie Gibson CD with no DRM on that would play but that's not the point.
  • Reply 120 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Commentators are too quick to jump to conclusions. As none of them have run a business, they have no idea what a business person would consider to be important.



    Hmmm.... that is a rather strong statement. Seems to imply that one actually needs to have experienced something in order to be able to comment on it (as a commentator). Surely you don't mean that?
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