“There’s no doubt that Apple is flying high,” Alice LaPlante blogs for InformationWeek. “In addition to muscling a sweet deal with the industry’s four largest music distributors (Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, EMI Group, and Sony BMG Music Entertainment) to continue selling songs in its iTunes store for $.99, its brawl with France over whether copyrighted work, like music on iTunes, needed to be interoperable was for all practical purposes made moot.”
“If three times is the charm, Apple must have the champagne chilling in preparation for a victory in its ongoing legal tussle with the Beatles,” LaPlante writes. “For iTunes fanatics, this is a mixed blessing. The good news, of course, is that the cost of individual music downloads remains infinitely affordable. The bad news is that Apple’s much-loathed proprietary digital rights management (DRM) scheme will remain firmly in place. Mixing his metaphors but nonetheless capturing the spirit of what transpired, Ted Schadler at Forrester Research was quoted as saying, ‘Apple has all the cards, and when you have all the cards, you can play hardball.'”
“With 45 million iPods sold and iTunes representing more than 80% of the digital downloads sold in the United States alone, Apple is now the 800-pound gorilla in the digital music world. Tim Lee of Techliberation argues that the music industry created a monster when it demanded a strong DRM system for iTunes music. Because it locks music lovers into Apple’s proprietary platform, Apple may soon be able to bypass the record labels completely and cut deals with artists themselves,” LaPlante writes. “But is Apple shooting itself in the foot by maintaining its proprietary standards? ‘We’ve seen this movie before,’ says Michael Robertson, founder of MP3tunes, which provides individuals with a ‘personal music locker’ with online storage that works within iTunes. Robertson was referring to the fact that a company that has created an industry often gets sidelined to a bit part in that very market. Indeed, Apple doesn’t have to look far for an example. But ‘it’s just not in [Jobs’] DNA’ to open up. It’s therefore inevitable that eventually other device makers will catch up and other services will deliver cheaper, easier-to-use, or flashier functionality.”
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Mike H.” for the heads up.]
“Apple’s much-loathed proprietary digital rights management (DRM) scheme?” “Much loathed,” by whom? We’ve yet to meet a normal user who’s come up against Apple’s liberal DRM boundaries. Apple’s iTunes Music Store FairPlay DRM allows users to play their music on up to five computers, allows for unlimited synching with iPods, allows unlimited burning for individual songs, and lets you burn identical playlists up to 7 times each. So, again, who “loathes” Apple’s DRM besides pirates and pie-in-the-sky dreamers who are anti-DRM of any kind? (Yes, a world without DRM would be nice. As would be a world without thieves.) Apple’s DRM is fair to both the consumer and the artist.
If you’d like to stay alive, we would advise not holding your breath waiting for “other device makers” to “catch up” with iPod and/or “other services” (with Microsoft’s Windows-only DRM, no doubt) to offer “cheaper, easier-to-use, or flashier functionality” than iTunes.
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Apple’s vs. Microsoft’s music DRM: whose solution supports more users? – August 17, 2005