Apple's Jobs calls for DRM-free music

by admin February 7, 2007 at 9:54 am

In a rare open letter from CEO Steve Jobs on Tuesday, Apple urged record companies to abandon digital rights management technologies.

The letter, posted on Apple’s Web site and titled “Thoughts on Music,” is a long examination of Apple’s iTunes and what the future may hold for the online distribution of copy-protected music. In the letter, Jobs says Apple was forced to create a DRM system to get the world’s four largest record companies on board with the iTunes Store.

But there are alternatives, Jobs wrote. Apple and the rest of the online music distributors could continue down a DRM path; Apple could license the FairPlay technology to others; or record companies could be persuaded to license music without DRM technology. The company clearly favors the third option.

“Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats,” Jobs wrote. “In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat.”

Jobs’ letter is a bit surprising in that Apple, with the most successful online music store on the planet, has profited by including DRM technology in its products, said Mike McGuire, an analyst with Gartner. “I think it’s really interesting that the company that’s the greatest beneficiary of DRM systems is basically telling the industry, ‘This is a problem, you need to fix this,'” he said.

Full story: CNET