Apple CEO Steve Jobs warns record industry of Napster To Go’s security gap

“If you want to spread bad news about Napster Inc., just tell Steve Jobs. The Apple Computer Inc. chief executive sent an e-mail Tuesday morning to top record industry executives, alerting them to a security gap in Napster’s music service — a rival to Apple’s iTunes online music store. ‘Thought you should know if you haven’t heard about this,’ Jobs wrote,” Jon Healey writes for The Los Angeles Times. “The e-mail directed the label executives to a Web page detailing how to convert Napster’s rental tunes into permanent downloads that can be burned onto CDs. The page urges people to sign up for a free trial of Napster and copy as much music as possible before canceling.”

Healy reports, “Napster CEO Chris Gorog sent the labels a retort Tuesday afternoon” arguing that “it is ‘trivial’ to download a free program that circumvents Apple’s anti-piracy software and unlocks ‘a large collection of iTunes music in seconds.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, you would have to buy each song from Apple’s iTunes Music Store to be able to strip off the DRM. With Napster To Go, you could just sign up for the free 14-day trial and get to work stealing songs until your 14 days were up. Then, if you still wanted to steal some more songs, as in tens or hundreds of thousands, just sign up for a monthly subscription. This is the problem with a subscription service. Hint for music industry execs: if you can hear the music, the music can and will be recorded regardless of the DRM. The best way to make “rental” music’s DRM work is to rent music that people cannot hear or is of a quality that’s so bad it’s not worth recording. Does that sound like a good business model to you?

Don’t steal music.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Users thwart Napster To Go’s copy protection; do the music labels realize the piracy potential? – February 15, 2005
Napster-To-Go’s ‘rental music’ DRM circumvented – February 14, 2005
Napster CEO Gorog: ‘it’s stupid to buy an iPod’ – February 10, 2005


  1. Good for Steve Jobs! I respect his willingness to aggressively protect his business interest. The NapsterToGo model is clearly not in the best interest of the record labels, so it’s his right (and some might argue his responsibility) to point that out since he has a partnership with them through iTunes.

  2. Rental model did not work before iTunes. Rental model won’t work after iTunes. Napster et al needs to realize that they are going to have to develop an end-to-end solution like iPod/iTunes in order to gain any headway in the digital music “battle.”

  3. I just saw one of those lame Napster To Go commercials on CMT. I guess they have a few bucks left. I love it – 14 days to try 3-4 songs that are portable but only on a few players that nobody has. Great business plan Gorog…

    Magic word = boy. As in, Boy he is one stupid mother f…

  4. well even without unlimited free trial downloads, 15 dollars a month to fill an ipod with stolen music sounds pretty reasonable. especially if you can do it in the first month… where do i sign up?

  5. MDN nailed it but it should be loud.

    Napster To Go lets users download the music for free, steal it, save it, play it, and NEVER pay a dime.

    iTMS lets users download music, 99-cents each, steal it, save it, play it, and, oh, they’ve already paid.

    1 – Which model works best for thieves?

    2 – Which model works best for the recording industry?

    3 – Which model works best for Apple?

    Uh, let’s not go with what’s behind door #1.

    The vast minority of users probably won’t be stealing from Naptser To Go, though, if the numbers were high enough that’d be a death knell.

    Besides, should the subscription model catch on and should the recording industry go along with it anyway, iTMS can always offer that as a new feature.

    Tera Patricks

  6. Another reason the rental market will not work – legal sharing. I can share my itunes with other users and burn a limited number of CD’s for friends. The buck per song gives me a license to do this limited sharing.

    Any sharing done through napster is illegal I believe. Sure, it can go anywhere as long as it stays with you.

  7. Only the paranoid survive.

    Chances are Steve mentioned the Napster hole not so much out of fear or respect, but as a great opportunity to poke at nemesis Gorog (the CEO of Napster, not the other one) for saying iPod owners are “stupid.”

  8. I would rashly assume that Napster pays the record companies next to nothing for the initial download–the idea being that the record companies make their money whenever you play the song so they get their money as a continuous stream over the longer term. Apple’s model is that the record company gets paid once, up-front, and they’re out of the picture.

    So, yeah, while once you buy the song from iTunes, you can use the same techniques with iTunes as you do with Napster to copy the song, the record companies are less concerned because at least they got paid.

    It’s especially bad in that, for example, let’s say someone actually BUYS the Napster subscription service and does this. After a year, Napster gets $180 and the record labels get next to nothing as each song only gets played once.

    So I can see the record companies being more peeved at Napster than at Apple over this.

  9. Gorog doesn’t have a clue. Yes you could load an application and bypass iTunes DRM but you can’t do that until after you’ve paid for the music. Steve Jobs is talking about people not having to pay for the music and just download it for free using napster.

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