Steve Jobs posted this month’s manifesto titled “Thoughts on Music”. Jobs outlines three alternatives for the future of digital music:
- “The first alternative is to continue on the current course, with each manufacturer competing freely with their own “top to bottom” proprietary systems for selling, playing and protecting music. It is a very competitive market, with major global companies making large investments to develop new music players and online music stores.”
- “The second alternative is for Apple to license its FairPlay DRM technology to current and future competitors with the goal of achieving interoperability between different company‚Äôs players and music stores.” Jobs goes on to explain why this alternative is not a good choice because there will ultimately be leaks in the DRM secrets making it more difficult for Apple to maintain its stability.
- Abolish DRMs. Jobs then goes on to explain all of the reasons why DRM is a dumb system. These reasons included the fact that “In 2006, under 2 billion DRM-protected songs were sold worldwide by online stores, while over 20 billion songs were sold completely DRM-free and unprotected on CDs by the music companies themselves.”
While I think this statement by Jobs is a positive statement, it does little to express what action should be taken by both Apple, other companies, and consumers to remove DRM. Ultimately, this piece was a move by Jobs to effectively remove Apple from the DRM debate. He is asking for Europeans primarily to “rise up” against the mighty record label titans and force them to remove the DRM chains. Ok Europeans …… go! Poor Apple is at the mercy of the big record labels, so they need the consumers to go do something about it. I’ve already seen what it’s like when the consumers protest DRM, and I doubt much will come out of such movements (although I hope something does). Let’s see Apple do something about it.