Apple CEO Steve Jobs seeks to end DRM in new iTunes talks with labels

Apple Store“The last time Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs took on major recording companies, he refused to budge on his 99-cent price for a song on iTunes,” Alex Veiga reports for The Associated Press.

“As a new round of talks ramp up this month, however, Jobs has opened the door to higher prices – as long as music companies let Apple Inc. sell their songs without technology designed to stop unauthorized copying,” Veiga reports.

“Last month, Britain’s EMI Music Group PLC, home to artists such as Coldplay, Norah Jones and Joss Stone, agreed to let iTunes sell tracks without the copy-protection technology known as digital-rights management. The DRM-free tracks cost 30 cents more than copy-restricted versions of EMI songs and feature enhanced sound quality,” Veiga reports.

“‘At this point, no one can ignore Apple or what Apple wants, given its position in the marketplace,’ said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research. ‘The fact that they were able to do this deal with EMI puts more pressure on some of the other labels to follow suit,'” Veiga reports.

“For their part, at least two of the recording companies will ask Jobs to sell a wider variety of content in digital bundles of songs, videos and other multimedia, according to two recording company executives familiar with their companies’ plans. They spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the confidential nature of the negotiations,” Veiga reports.

“Apple already sells some bundled tracks, but the music companies hope expanding those offerings will boost online revenue and help offset lagging CD sales,” Veiga reports.

“Last year, the main issue that dominated iTunes licensing talks was pricing, as some of the big music companies urged Jobs to entertain charging more for some songs than others,” Veiga reports. The dispute percolated for months, but Jobs didn’t budge, not wanting to complicate iTunes’ simple pricing scheme for singles. Eventually, the music companies each agreed to one-year deals, which expire this spring.”

Veiga reports, “Critics of the recording industry have argued for years that the labels are alienating customers by placing copy restrictions on legal music downloads, especially as many CDs have been sold without them.”

Much more in the full article here.

36 Comments

  1. “Critics of the recording industry have argued for years that the labels are alienating customers by placing copy restrictions on legal music downloads, especially as many CDs have been sold without them.”

    Many CDs sold without copyright protection? I think you mean *ALL* CDs are sold without copyright protection. The great thing about music CDs is that it is a standard format, any attempt to add DRM to a CD would violate that standard, and therefore not be a music CD.

    The fact that all music CD’s, the vast majority of music sales, have no DRM, emphasis the foolishness of trying to sell music with DRM.

  2. Steve Jobs has lost the argument from the onset. Trying to use logic with the recording industry is as futile as conducting an orchestra of chimps on crystal meth into playing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony flawlessly.

  3. However, some CDs do have copy protection because they are designed to not be playable in computer drives. Oftentimes, these CDs don’t have the CompactDisc label on their cases, precisely because they violate the standard.

  4. There is not a single code of DRM that is so ironclad invincible that it cannot be defeated. The recording industry is fighting a losing battle with digital technology and human nature; they just refuse to accep reality. I admire their persistence, concede their greed, and doubt their intelligence. I still think that the recording industry could make tons of money if they only cultivated better artists.

  5. Many of you may have already forgotten that when the Zune was announced with its $1 per Zune going to the record labels it was presumed that the labels would ask for similar concession from Apple. With the introduction of the EMI deal, Jobs has completed changed the negotiating landscape. The record labels are completely on the defensive. They can shoot themselves in the foot by refusing to release their songs to Itunes. And that’s not going to happen. Or they can refuse to release DRM free music and let EMI and the Indies be the only DRM free shops in town. I’m telling you. Itunes went from being pressured by the labels to pressuring the labels. It’s brilliant.

  6. “‘At this point, no one can ignore Apple or what Apple wants, given its position in the marketplace,’ said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research.

    MWAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

  7. The past couple of years now, it’s the labels who come away from these negotiations with blood on their faces. One would think they’d try to avoid negotiations with Apple, and sign up for ten or twenty year contracts! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue wink” style=”border:0;” />

  8. MacMental,

    While yes you can send a drm-free iTMS song (it’s just a file), there will most likely still be embedded in the song data a record of the iTMS purchase including your account. And this is besides the point that file sharing is still infringement (not stealing) of the copyright.

    Apple is making it easier for you to manage your music; no more treating you like a criminal, restricting how many machines you can play it on, etc…

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.