Steve Jobs really said that???
Steve Jobs has written a statement 'Thoughts on Music' on the Apple website, in which he shares some quite staggering thoughts on the future of online music and Digital Rights Management in particular.
The biggest bombshell is that he calls for the record labels to drop DRM in favour of open licensable formats. Jobs says: "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."
My thoughts? Of course, it's easier for Apple to take this position than others since its core business is selling iPods, not music. However, that doesn't make Jobs wrong. As he points out, record labels are selling about 90% of their content in unrestricted (CD) format, so why spend so much time, effort and money trying to protect the remaining 10% - particularly since it's impossible to truly protect digital content in the long run.
The fact is that for customers it's just a pain in the backside to have to take into account file formats and DRM restrictions when buying music. If I buy a track from Virgin, or HMV, or iTunes or an artist website, why shouldn't I be able to listen to it on my iPod, or Sandisk MP3 player? Am I really supposed to choose between (a) having two different players to play music purchased from different sources or (b) making a choice of store and then sticking with it because music I buy elsewhere won't play on my particular player?
The truth is, all this does is make me look for ways to get hold of music without DRM, and as we all know there are a number of ways to do this (which perhaps I won't go into here). So instead of being nurtured as a lifetime music consumer I'm being pushed towards finding ways to download music without paying for it.
Of course, let's not overlook the fact that it's tough competing with a business model where content is given away, but the industry has to think of this as a competitive business model and devise value-added strategies to compete effectively. It has to move beyond the "downloading is illegal" frame of mind.
So let's see what the reaction is to Jobs' statement. Should be fun over the next few weeks...