The more powerful Apple’s iTunes Store gets, the quicker music DRM dies

“Many people have celebrated Apple’s announcement that it has sold 5 billion songs on iTunes and it’s the world’s largest music retailer. Almost everyone in the world is calling this a major victory for Apple and one that we should all recognize as a milestone that deserves our praise,” Don Reisinger opines for CNET. “But I don’t.”

“To me, Apple’s success with iTunes and its ability to sell 5 billion songs since its launch is an awful event. In fact, it’s probably one of the worst stories I’ve read all year,” Reisinger writes. “As just one of the millions across the globe who’s being treated poorly by the music industry, why should I embrace this news and try so desperately to put a smile on my face?”

Reisinger writes, “Try as it might to do things the right way, iTunes is the result of countless negotiations with the record labels that continue to dislike everything we stand for and do everything they can to ensure that we’re paying too much for a track that’s locked down worse than anything we have ever witnessed in this business. Why hasn’t anyone realized that Apple’s success with iTunes is the very reason we’re being abused by the music industry in the first place?”

MacDailyNews Take: Why hasn’t a CNET technology columnist realized that there are currently over 2 million DRM-free songs available via Apple’s iTunes Store? We do agree that they should ALL be DRM-free, but the misguided music cartels still cling desperately to the notion that by offering Apple’s roadkill some DRM-free songs, they can hurt iTunes Store’s dominance. It ain’t workin’, guys. Give it up, turn off the DRM, and you’ll sell even more music. Don’t confuse Apple with the music labels. Apple CEO Steve Jobs called for DRM-free music well over a year ago. The buffoons running the music labels are to blame for the continued stupidity of DRM’ed music, not Apple.

Reisinger continues, “The way I see it, purchasing songs on iTunes is only perpetuating our fight with the record industry and we’re being forced into a situation where the more we buy, the worse it gets. So unless we stop supporting DRM and the abuse that comes along with it, we’ll be forced to endure it.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Marc” for the heads up.]

Towel off and relax, Don. It’s actually just the opposite: the more we buy from Apple, the more power we bestow upon Apple that they can use to force the music cartels to remove the DRM. In fact, Apple has more than enough power right now to force the labels to remove the DRM, if the labels fail to figure out that they should do it on their own (which we believe Jobs would prefer to happen). Patience. It’ll only be just a little while longer.


  1. I’m just buying exclusively DRM-free tracks from iTunes.

    Nothing is so alluring as revenue only your competition gets. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  2. Typical uneducated CNET FUD. I stopped reading their useless drivel years ago because of bullsh*t pieces like this one. This idiot has obviously not kept track of what has been going on for the last couple of years. If it weren’t for Steve Jobs, there still wouldn’t be ANY songs available for download without DRM.

  3. At some point Apple may breakdown the percentage of drm and drm-free songs sold. You can be sure that they are certainly touting it to the labels if DRM-free songs are more popular.

    Give it time. Apple will get their way.

  4. The author’s thesis is that iTunes basically gives the music industry what they want and supports their current stupidity. Of course, this ignore the fact that the music industry is using DRM-free tracks on other services as a method to make iTunes less powerful.

    The author also makes a clumsy attempt to link this with oberpricing, but 5 billion songs sold suggest that the $0.99 per track (with a few exceptions when an entire album is purchased and the old higher price for DRM-free tracks) is a good price point for consumers. Apple has held the line against the music industry’s desire for “flexible pricing”, which would not have been possible without the enormous marketshare of iTunes.

  5. I like Apple as much as the next guy. But a more accurate headline would have been “The more powerful Amazon MP3 gets, the quicker music DRM dies”. Apple is moving towards DRM-free music. And Steve Jobs deserves congratulations for his open letter on the subject. But Amazon and other services are already there. Like Microsoft and Windows, market share guarantees that Apple’s iTunes Store will continue to thrive for a long time to come — regardless of DRM.

    Incidentally, I’m going to stay with CDs until a reputable service begins selling DRM-free lossless audio downloads. Similarly, I’ll stay with DVD/Blu-ray until DRM-free 1080p downloads are an option.

  6. What’s with this comment?

    “…we’re paying too much for a track that’s locked down worse than anything we have ever witnessed in this business.”

    If anything, FairPlay is the least restrictive DRM system around. Personally, DRM is an utter abortion but at least Apple have some kind of fair use policy, unlike certain other companies.

    Idiots like Reisinger should mot be allowed to write anything until they have done the proper research – what a tool!


  7. OMG, Reisinger’s right! I promise as soon as I get home I will trash all my iTunes downloads (especially the “+” ones from EMI) and every song with $14.99 CDs! That’ll stick it to the man!

    Thank you Reisinger for showing me the light!!! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”angry” style=”border:0;” />

  8. Ah yes, C|Net. The lapdog of Microsoft and their indirect mouthpiece for their FUD. It’s articles like this, along with the FUD article about Steve Jobs in C|Net subsidiary ZDNet that MDN published earlier today shows to me that Microsoft is desperate, and will push any FUD that they can through their minions.

    For years, C|Net,, ZD.Net, TechRepublic and other wholly-owned fronts for C|Net have been undertaking an almost non-stop attack on Apple. Their tone has ranged from the outright shrill (“Die Apple! Die! Die! Die!”) to the more subtle forms of FUD (a Mac is okay for some users, but “serious” users and corporations should avoid them altogether). Their agenda parallels that of Microsoft, which is hardly surprising, given that Microsoft is their largest advertiser.

    Lately, I have seen a couple of anti-Apple FUD themes played out via C|Net in various flavors through their different sites:

    1. As Apple succeeds, it will become the new Microsoft, and will invariably become and evil and predatory monopoly.

    2. iTunes has become too powerful and must be stopped. (The article above lambasts iTMS – but would they prefer a Zune-based world in which users don’t own their music, but all the music has heavy DRM? C|Net conveniently fails to mention this.)

    3. Die, Steve Jobs. Die. Die. Die: This is the latest and most insidious form of C|Net/Microsoft FUD. They are quietly pushing the meme that Steve Jobs’ health is in serious decline, and as goes Steve, so goes Apple. It’s a new wrapper for the old, “Apple is doomed” meme that C|Net pushed on hard in the 90s. There’s just a few problems with this: As Fortune Magazine showed in research on survivors of pancreatic cancer, the result is often that the survivor is robust, but thin. And when I viewed the most recent keynote, Steve looked tan, not pale, and was full of energy and enthusiasm. But the tactic is both evil and clever, trying to undermine consumer and investor confidence in Apple.

    It pains me to see charlatans succeed. Welcome to the dark side, folks.

  9. It is interesting how the labels have played into Apple. Think about it- they insist on DRM, then they provide DRM free tracks to iTunes competitors, but still iTunes sales accelerate, and iPod sales dwarf the competition for years. Since people have Apple DRM laden tracks in their library, they don’t bother to look at alternatives to the iPod- why would I? The iPod is great, and it would be a major pain to move to an alternative. And yet, the labels apparently think they are using DRM to punish Apple. All they are doing is cementing the lead Apple has.

  10. So his solution is:

    1. Don’t buy music

    2. Download pirated music

    Otherwise, he’s buying music as CDs or downloads. I guess Ron wants the music companies out of the music business, and that ain’t happening anytime soon.

  11. The counter argument to Don Reisinger’s “opine” is very simple. Take away iTunes. If iTunes was not here, what would we have? 90% of people buying musing via some MS craportal, or WalMart website, with the Music/Movie industry at absolute control, at probably $1.99 per song, while telling the artists how they can’t get paid due to the ‘low profit margin’. It is precisely because iTunes stands apart from the recording industry, and is not a monopoly like WalMart or MSFT in their respective fields that people use chosen to use it. Don probably prefers the Zune too.

  12. Exactly, freebeer. I suppose it’s possible someone other than Apple could have done what iTunes has, but regardless, the alternative would have been what you’ve described or worse. I think we’re rapidly approaching a tipping point of sorts-the Microsoft/Music Cartel model is on its very last legs. At last. I won’t miss it, just as I don’t miss commercial radio after swearing it off 20 years ago.

  13. C/Net is rabidly anti-Apple.
    Every article, review or comment from them regarding Apple or it’s products is either down right negative or subtly slamming Apple in the text.

    Why does this suprise anyone-Molly Wood called the iPhone a turd in her podcast.

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