In a brilliantly stated essay in the form of an open posting entitled Thoughts on Music, Steve Jobs states that if the four big record companies (Universal, EMI, Sony BMG and Warner) would agree to license DRM-free music, Apple would agree to sell all its music without its FairPlay copy protection in a heartbeat.
Steve makes a compelling case that DRM is unnecessary and does not prevent illegal copying of music anyway. Afterall, 90 percent of all music distributed legally by these same record companies is unprotected in the form of CD's which contain no protection whatsoever. In fact, Jobs says that only 3 percent of music on iPods is purchased from iTunes and has the dreaded DRM. The rest of the music on iPods is obtained from other sources, like files ripped from the owners CD collection.
These statements were made against a backdrop of several European countries pressuring Apple to open up its FairPlay DRM systems to its competitors, in an effort to increase inter-operability between music bought from iTunes and a wide variety of playback devices (other than iPods). Apple says... "Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free."
Will Steve Jobs now go on a crusade to pressure the Big Four to drop its requirement for DRM? How will the record companies react to this. In 2003, Apple changed the face of the music business by offering leagally downloading digital music that played on a great music player, the iPod. Once again, Apple Inc. is poised to change the face of Industry and FREE THE MUSIC.
Check out the full essay here.