Thoughts on “Thoughts on Music”
Clearly designed as an official response to European governmental agencies that have recently threatened to force Apple to open up the copy protection system shared by the iPod and iTunes, Apple CEO Steve Jobs today published “Thoughts on Music,” an essay on Apple’s views of digital rights management (DRM), its sales of music, and its record label partners. Earlier today, I started to work on a detailed analytical look at the essay, but re-considered halfway through; as interesting as Thoughts on Music initially appears to be, there are only three modestly noteworthy points of interest to iPod users:
(1) According to Apple, the FairPlay DRM system was developed to satisfy the music industry, and Apple says that it’s willing to sell music without DRM - and guarantee that every iPod ever made will play it - if the four major recording labels agree that it’s no longer necessary.
(2) Over 90% of music sold in 2006 - virtually everything sold outside of the iTunes Store - was sold without DRM, in CD format, and that’s not likely to change.
and (3) Despite the prospect of licensing fees and/or forced governmental action, Apple is opposed to opening FairPlay to its competitors on the grounds that doing so will compromise FairPlay’s security. In other words, it will sell FairPlay music without licensing it, or sell DRM-free music, but that’s it.
Ultimately, the reason I opted to stop working on the full analysis was this: the essay ultimately comes across as more of a finger-pointing exercise than anything else, concluding by telling European governments to turn their attention to (European) record companies instead of Apple. The company’s proposal of two equally unpleasant alternatives - Apple DRM or no DRM - makes some rhetorical sense, but obviously doesn’t encompass all of the potential solutions out there, and as neither Apple option will satisfy sabre-rattlers, it won’t stop those trying to force FairPlay licensing upon the company. Additionally, even though the essay includes some questionable assumptions, such as the ones that only 3% of an iPod user’s library consists of iTunes DRM’ed music, and that 3% would be too small of a percentage to lock consumers into remaining iPod and iTunes customers, my guess is that Apple’s intended audience will find them more self-serving than convincing. Readers, what do you think?
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apple offering hands-on demos of Super Mario Run in stores
- Report: Apple pursuing studio agreements for early movie rentals
- Apple releases seventh beta of iOS 10.2 to developers
- Apple makes its picks for best iPhone, iPad and Apple TV apps of 2016
- Apple acknowledges Apple Music now includes ‘all the benefits of iTunes Match’
- Apple Music tops 20 million subscribers
- Apple blames ‘external factors’ for iPhone fires in China
- Rumor: 2017 iPhones won’t include glass chassis or wireless charging; will add red color
- Top Apple supplier Foxconn planning U.S. investment
- Apple enables Single Sign-On across all iOS 10 and tvOS 10 devices
- Elgato Eve Light Switch
- iHome iPLWBT5 Docking Clock Radio for iPhone and Apple Watch
- Brydge 12.9 iPad Pro Keyboard
- Sen.se GuardPeanut
- iHome iZBT10 Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Speaker
- Twelve South HiRise Duet for Apple Watch and iPhone
- IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor
- JBL Under Armour Sport Wireless Heart Rate Headphones
- Edifier e235 Luna E Speaker System
- Clamcase ClamCase+ for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10