Apple has posted an essay by Steve Jobs, with his thoughts on music. More specifically, his thoughts on the mounting pressure from Eureopean governments on Apple to open up it’s Fairplay DRM scheme to its competitors, so that consumers could mix and match music stores and music players.
Jobs basically says that Apple will not do that, because it would weaken their ability to keep the DRM unbroken, which would eventually mean contractual breach of their agreement with the 4 big music labels. But don’t take my word for it, read the essay, it’s a very good read.
He then goes on saying that Fairplay is only there because the 4 big labels require it, and that if they would drop the contractual requirement, Apple would get rid of it ‘in a heartbeat’. No DRM would be best for consumers, and would obviously save Apple a lot of money and bad press.
I like his statement. I’m happy that he’s putting public pressure on the big 4 – even though it is probably just to get the European governments off Apple’s back. I want to believe that this is really what he thinks. But I’m a little suspicous. After all, as others have pointed out, some of the independent labels that sell music through the iTunes music store don’t want any DRM, and have asked Apple to remove it from their music. Apple basically said ‘no’. And yet, the podcasts that are available for free through the iTunes music store are MP3 downloads – no DRM at all. Removing DRM from (some) music in the iTunes store should be hardly any work at all – Apple obviously already has the infrastructure in place for that.
So, Mr. Jobs, please put your money where your mouth is. Remove the DRM for the labels that request it. When you do that, I’ll believe you. And applaud you.