Kudos to Steve Jobs and Apple for having courage to call for end of DRM and making it happen

Apple StoreApple today announced that EMI Music’s entire digital catalog of music will be available for purchase DRM-free (without digital rights management) from the iTunes Store worldwide in May. DRM-free tracks from EMI will be offered at higher quality 256 kbps AAC encoding, resulting in audio quality indistinguishable from the original recording, for just $1.29 per song. In addition, iTunes customers will be able to easily upgrade their entire library of all previously purchased EMI content to the higher quality DRM-free versions for just 30 cents a song.

Carl Howe writes for Blackfriars’ Marketing, “From a marketing point of view, we see this move as smart on both EMI’s and Apple’s part. For EMI, its higher-quality DRM-free music is now differentiated in a way that could dramatically increase its revenue and increase album sales over the less-profitable singles. For Apple, it now has a deal that proves that Jobs’ claim to oppose DRM is real and differentiates Apple’s services significantly from the draconian DRM restrictions Microsoft places on its music and video. And without as many DRM shackles to enforce, Apple has the potential to further simplify the user experience for its customers.”

Howe writes, “Most record labels will see this as a ground-breaking, dangerous experiment. But with CD sales down 20% this year, they had to do something. And kudos to Jobs and Apple for having the courage to call for the end of DRM and the business drive to make it happen. It’s one small step for music, but one giant leap for consumer fair use rights in the digital age.”

Full article here.

Apple iTunes

Related articles:
Analyst Gartenberg: iTunes Store’s DRM-free music ‘a great win for Apple’ – April 02, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs to appear live on CNBC within the hour – April 02, 2007
Apple: Higher quality 256 kbps AAC DRM-free music on iTunes Store coming in May – April 02, 2007
EMI rejects Warner Music buyout bid – March 04, 2007
EMI halts talks about selling DRM-free music – February 26, 2007
Warner Music approaches EMI in possible takeover bid – February 20, 2007
Macrovision posts pro-DRM open letter to Steve Jobs and digital entertainment industry – February 16, 2007
Warner’s DRM-loving Middlebronfman warns wireless industry it may lose music market to Apple iPhone – February 14, 2007
Monster Cable announces full support of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ call for DRM-free music – February 13, 2007
BBC columnist doesn’t believe Steve Jobs’ Apple would stop using DRM if music labels would allow it – February 12, 2007
EMI may sell entire music catalog DRM-free – February 09, 2007
Recording Industry Association of America wants their DRM, calls for Apple to license FairPlay – February 08, 2007
Warner’s Middlebronfman: Jobs’ DRM-free music call ‘without logic and merit, we’ll not abandon DRM’ – February 08, 2007
Technology Review editor gets a lot wrong in his article about Apple CEO Jobs’ push to end DRM – February 07, 2007
Apple’s Jobs jolts music industry; Zune exec calls Jobs’ call for DRM-free music ‘irresponsible’ – February 07, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ posts rare open letter: ‘Thoughts on Music’ – calls for DRM-free music – February 06, 2007

42 Comments

  1. Amen to that. And it will be remembered that it was Jobs and Apple that brought about this change for consumers.

    If this event today doesn’t make the difference between Apple and Microsoft crystal clear to everyone, I’m not sure what ever will.

  2. I really want to hear Ballmers thoughts on Music now this announcement has been made, will he laugh like he did when he gave his thoughts on the iPhone…

    DUCK! FLYING CHAIR INCOMING!!!!!

    Seriously, I’d love to hear what that idiot has to say.

  3. I doubt this move was created by Jobs, at best synchronicity, most likely the simple placing one’s finger in the air to determine the direction of the wind… Kudos for clear vision.

  4. For anyone that wants to show their support for this move, plus save yourself some money at the same time, head down to your local Best Buy store or Bestbuy.com.

    Through Saturday, when you buy 3 $15 iTunes cards, you get 1 free. So you get $60 worth of iTunes Store credit for only $45. I know I’ll be stopping by there on my way home from work today…

  5. But I thought Bill Gates and Microsoft had the courage to create user-friendly personal computing on behalf of the consumer–and make it happen. Together with that genius Steve Ballmer he repeated this magnificent feat with Zune and Zune Marketplace.

    Good job, Microsoft!

  6. But squirting… WHAT ABOUT SQUIRTING!??!?!

    You know, something occurred to me when I was thinking about Zune, iPhone, and the end of DRM…

    MS marketed Zune as “The Social”, touting its crippled sharing feature as The Way to share music. Of course, in practice this was utter pap, because sharing was slow, tedious, required ‘pushing’ rather than letting users browse another Zune freely, didn’t apply to all tracks, and cause music to explode after 3 days.

    The whole point of this exercise in Rescue Marketing was to make us thing about sharing a musical experience with a friend or stranger. That part of it was a great idea, but the technology fouled up the execution big time. When you shared a track, you only shared the file, you had no way to share the experience of listening to it, you just got a copy of a file. If you wanted to really share the listening experience. maybe you could hit PLAY at the same time on both devices, but that’s a kludgy way to go about it. Real sharing happens when someone hands you an earbud and you listen to the track together. Zune did not enable this in an meaningful way.

    But then I thought about the iPhone. Now say you’re listening to Broken Head by Catherine Wheel on your iPhone. You really want your friend to hear this song, because you know how she loves to be rocked hardXXXcore. So you call her up, and while you’re talking to her, your iPhone plays the track in the background,

    SO THAT BOTH OF YOU CAN HEAR IT.

    Think about this. Now you’re really sharing. You can both share the sound space, talk about the track, shout ‘yes!’ and pump fists in the air in unison, etc. Maybe you can turn up the volume independently of the call volume. Maybe you can even share videos the same way (if your friend also has an iPhone). And since it’s a phone, the Zune 30-foot Squirting Radius limit would evaporate as well.

    This functionality would certainly crush Brown Squirting. Any kind of media could be shared like this, in a world with no DRM. How amazingly cool would this be?

    There is a lot we don’t know about the iPhone. I hope one of those things is something like what I have described. That would rock. But in any case, we’re going to discover a world of new ways to use media in the coming years that will be far more clever and useful than squirting exploding media all over the place. Apple, if you build it, I will come.

    -c

  7. I think there is an even bigger picture here that isn’t yet being addressed:

    This is (as far as I know) the first reversal in a trend marked by 30 years of increasing DRM, protections, and other forms of obnoxious limits in entertainment media.

    This flies in the face of the entire core media services of VISTA, and Trusted Computing, and all that crap.

    This not only is a real-world, practical application of that reversal, but of course it puts (or in my mind, continues to put) Apple at the forefront of the digital rights movement.

    I have always seen Apple as having extremely lenient policies – their OS, iLife, etc. all being completely free from activation codes, copy protection, etc. And yet still folks have been parading around the “Trusted Computing” doomsday calls.

    And not without good reason – VISTA and Trusted Computing is a twisted nightmare of “rights management”. But I never for one minute believed that Steve Jobs and Apple wanted this on the Mac platform. And I never thought he would capitulate to increasing restrictions.

    This shows (finally, definitively) that I was right. Steve really wasn’t full of crap in saying he’d like DRM-free music. I’m willing to bet he was well along in negotiations with EMI over this when he published his open letter. If Apple can get and maintain enough leverage in the entertainment spheres, it could really push the envelope for consumer rights.

    I couldn’t be happier to see this happen now. And I can only imagine the jaws dropping in Redmond, as they stare at the abysmal morass that they call VISTA and its lack-of-consumer rights management.

  8. Not meaning to plug, but once you’ve ripped your iTMS DRM music to MP3 and wish to make a ringtone, use the program Xingtone.

    It makes unlimited ringtones for one phone number, you edit the clip and send it to them and they phone you with the download.

    it’s sweet in my opinion.

  9. I think we have to give EMI some credit here also for going against the grain and stepping up with DRM Free music to sell on iTunes. Cheers to Steve Apple and EMI for showing leadership in DRM free music.

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