Reaction to 'Thoughts On Music'

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Since Apple released Steve Jobs' article entitled "Thoughts On Music" in which he calls on record companies to allow Apple to sell DRM free content on the iTunes Store, various parties have voiced their reactions.

    In an Associated Press article published by Forbes, Mitch Bainwol, chairman and chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) suggested that Apple rather license FairPlay to other companies to allow interoperability.

    Mr. Jobs addressed such a possibility in his article, however stated that "Apple has concluded that if it licenses FairPlay to others, it can no longer guarantee to protect the music it licenses from the big four music companies."

    However, Jon Lech Johansen, who has successfully reverse-engineered FairPlay in the past and has since formed DoubleTwist ventures in an attempt to sell FairPlay compatible DRM to content providers, points out in a blog post that Microsoft's decision to license Microsoft’s Windows Media DRM 10 (PlaysForSure) to multiple companies has not had any more security breaches than FairPlay.

    European consumer groups appear to be coming out with a mixed reaction. Norway's Consumer Counsel appears to not be satisfied with Jobs' comments, however one French consumer group fully agrees with Jobs, and has refocused their efforts on pressuring the music labels.

    Reaction to Jobs' article remains extremely positive in MacRumors forums. Also of note, Britain's EMI Music has been experimenting with DRM-free music digital music distribution via MP3, reportedly gaining extremely positive feedback from customers.
  2. mashinhead macrumors 68020

    Oct 7, 2003
    interesting, i love that the French fight for consumer protection. But Jobs is right in this case, i'm sure he just pissed off the big 4 royally, Risky move, I wonder how long their contracts with apple are for?
  3. chicagdan macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    Call me crazy, but i think Apple's looking for a way out of this business. Selling songs isn't terribly profitable for them and the iPod has reached such a maturity level that they no longer need a dedicated store to drive hardware sales. If the music companies want to pull the plug on the iTunes Store, I think Apple's inclined to say, fine, we'll encourage our customers to buy CDs and rip them.
  4. Sherlock Holmes macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2007
    Skate to where the puck is going to be...

    The Big 4 aren't happy with Steve Jobs...but have nowhere else to turn. CD sales are flat and will begin to decline soon. The ONLY future for "Record" Company revenue is digital online sales, and right now iTunes in the biggest channel. Jobs knows this and is urging them towards the only real option they have.
  5. zigziggityzoo macrumors regular


    Nov 2, 2004
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Apples share of all music sold is roughly equated to $70M for every 1B songs sold. Over the course of the ~4-5 years iTunes Store has been online, that's all the money they have to work with to keep it operational. Call me crazy, but I doubt they're doing anything more than breaking even with their iTunes Store (considering bandwidth and those keeping the place online).

    That said, I'm sure that without DRM, there would be less cost (though not considerable) to keeping the iTunes store online, and more people drawn to the store. This means more iPods sold, and more iPod halo effect. This also means more downloaded songs (a + for the labels, artists).

    Too bad this probably won't happen.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    So he can "talk" but so far "no walk"

    If Jobs was sincere in his comments he could prove it today by putting at least a few non-DRM'd tracks on iTunes. There are any number in indy band that have asked that their music by DRM free. All he'd have to do is say "Yes" to one of the smaller labels that does not want DRM. He can't blame ALL the labels. Heck, if he REALLY wanted to publish DRM free content he could sign a few artists himself,

    Until iTunes does this I don't believe what jobs said
  7. sportsfanMAW macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2006

    not profitable? come on they're like what number 4 now on the top selling online music? I think that's pretty profitable, plus with all their movies and tv shows i'm guessing there making a lot of money
  8. chicagdan macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    But Apple is not getting a lot of money per sale and they have all of the infrastructure costs. The iTunes store is a vehicle to sell more iPods, it's not a big money maker itself.
  9. conradzoo macrumors regular

    Oct 6, 2005
    I fully agree. Lotta idependent bands that are at Emusic (DRM free) also are for sale at iTunes. It doesn't seem the artist insist the DRM on iTunes...

    So mr Job, give us some proof of right intent.
  10. MacVault macrumors 65816

    Jun 10, 2002
    Planet Earth

    Now, what don't you understand about that, Mitch??? Steve Jobs seems to (finally) understand it!
  11. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    Regardless of DRM and Fairplay, I don't think Apple should really ever allow any non-Apple devices to operate with iTunes.

    It is one thing to make the music DRM free or to license Fairplay so that an off brand mp3/aac player, something like an iRiver, SanDisk Sansa or SwiMP3 player, can play iTMS songs. But that is as far as Apple should have to go. Drag and Drop or create their own Manager/Interface for playlists and transfers.

    I wouldn't want Apple to have to create plugs-ins or any other way for other companies players to list in the devices section for updating. I just see that as fraught with bugs and ultimately backlashing on Apple. Apple produces vertical integration of Software and Hardware for a reason: seamless operation. And that works (at least most of the time).
  12. shalghamz macrumors newbie


    May 2, 2006
    I dont believe me proof.
  13. itnaanti macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2007
    My Solution

    I agree with Steve that DRM is a complete waste. The only people that it impedes are the honest people who are legally purchasing their music. Personally, I hope they completely scrap DRM as a failed experiment, but I also understand the labels’ misgivings about selling freely distributable music. I would offer this as a compromise: encrypt owner information into downloaded songs, but leave the songs themselves free from DRM. This way, we could play our songs on any given player, but the labels would have a way to track music piracy. Granted, that opens a whole new can of litigation worms that frankly scares me just thinking about it – but at least I could play my legally purchased CDs on another player without having to burn them and re-rip them to remove the protection.
  14. heyisa macrumors member


    Sep 13, 2006
    itunes is still not there

    I would buy all my music off itunes if it was drm free and a little higher quality (160k aac would be fine for me). Until then, I prefer to buy cds for the higher quality, but if those two things were changed I would buy 4 times as much music on itunes.
  15. MacVault macrumors 65816

    Jun 10, 2002
    Planet Earth
    Ditto! Mega Ditto! Until then, I'm more than happy to go to the store, buy the CD and rip it myself!
  16. deputy_doofy macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2002
    Now that the Apple v. Apple thing is settled, I'd love to see Apple Inc. spin off its own music label division..... hmmmm, maybe even Apple Records itself..... and allow musicians to come onboard, leaving those other 4 guys behind.

    *turns and waves to the big 4*
    Say hi to the dinosaurs for me.

  17. Object-X macrumors 6502a


    Aug 3, 2004
    Power Play

    This is a power play between Apple and the music industry. Apple's position is strong and they don't need DRM to maintain it. Apple could license Fairplay, but why should they go to all the trouble to do it? Furthermore, the music industry could rework their agreement with Apple so as to not threaten pulling all their music if a cracked DRM couldn't be patched in time. As long as Apple is forced to take all the risk and responsibility it's in Apple's best interest to keep Fairplay propietary.

    I hear a lot of people claiming the music industry are a bunch of idiots since most of their music is sold on unprotected CDs; like their too stupid to figure that out. They are not stupid. DRM is a forward thinking strategy to protect their music. I think the music industry believes, as we all do, that digital downloading is the distribution model of the future. By putting DRM in place now they will eventually achieve protection of all their content.

    This is becoming a power play, because of Apple's position. They want Apple to take all the risk and deal with all the headaches. Why should Apple do this? Because they have been so successful? Apple could make money at it, but not enough to make it worth the trouble. Apple benefits by having DRM, so there is no incentive for them to do this.

    So, who will blink first? Apple is staying put. All the music industry can do now is threaten to pull out of Apple's music service, but since Apple has 80% market share and digital downloading is extremely successful, they can't really do that either. So, Apple has essentially drawn a line in the sand and now the music industry is going to either let things remain as they are or remove the DRM.

    My guess is things will stay as they are.
  18. therandthem macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2002
    Apple Inc. and The Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd.

    It is possible that Steve Jobs is creating the beginnings of a narrative for why Apple Inc. will some day be forced to become a major record label. With the recent agreement between the Beatles' Apple Corps and Apple Inc. the groundwork may already be laid. Everyone knows that the major record labels will react defensively toward any suggestion that they stop using digital copy restrictions. So what does Steve Jobs do? He stokes the flames. Later he can say the Apple Inc. and Apple Corps are uniting as the premiere music store and record label to give consumers what the major labels will not. Then, Apple signs up artists who will be attracted by a bigger cut of the online sales.
  19. russellb macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2007
    Closed System

    People just dont get it

    Other than the fact that Apple has every right to a closed system , no one forces you to use Ipods or itunes people choose to. If you dont like it go somewhere else .. but people do like it. If the competition cant come up with an as good solution then suck eggs.

    BUT my main comment:

    One of the main reason that Macs are such a great system (other than the great OS) is that they are a relatively closed system. Apple controls all the hardware and all the OS software and that lets them deliver a first class user experience. Half of PC's problems come from the fact that they are not a closed system and you have 101 hardware manufacturers and 101 sofware companies delivering hardware and drivers etc.

    If you opened up the Itunes and Ipod to 3rd party hardware and 3rd party software Apple would be unable to control the system and hence users would be complaining about problems that would be the fault of 3rd parties ... you get my drift.

    GO APPLE keep a closed system and keep delivering us the best system out there.
  20. nemaslov macrumors 6502a


    Jul 22, 2002
    San Francisco
    I would love for Apple to stand up and say..ok we are going all DRM FREE. Those who want to play..stay, and other can walk. The Majors will lose online Market share and the indies will GROW and new acts will florish. Major label music will be pirated more and more and more.

    EMI is the only major that seems to be open to it. Let the others go to the ZUNE store and see their sales plunge...or squirt. The Beatles are an EMI act and their addition to iTunes at the same time they get rid of DRM, would give iTunes a another kick, with or without the other three majors.
  21. Data macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2006
    Cd quality... what does it for me , i think all the iTMS ( or any other online store ) buys are way to low in quailty, if you compare them to a regular cd, so i say buy cedees and rip them your selfs ,if you have the room for it with the aiff or apple lossless codec, then you get close to the "real thing".
    Then again, if you only listen to your music on your ipod you would not even notice the quality diffrence, so maybe it just best to forget all i said above :rolleyes: , ;-) .
  22. thirdhand macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2006
    Interesting times...

    While I don't know whether Apple is not licensing FairPlay to others for the technical reasons Steve claimed, or for keeping control over the iTunes/iPod combo, it still leaves Apple in a position of power over the record companies, as they're the dominant online music store. This might eventually force the companies to abandon DRM. Meanwhile Microsoft are involuntarily doing their best to kill DRM by leaving PlaysForSure for a new exclusive Zune DRM (or they would be if anybody bought Zunes).
  23. Peace macrumors P6


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    I said it the other day.The only solution is "OpenDRM" a cross-platform DRM.Open source.ALL stores including MICROSOFT and Apple MUST embrace this or DRM will fail more than it will.
  24. xVeinx macrumors 6502

    Oct 9, 2006
    I find it interesting that the RIAA response completely ignores Steve's analysis on the leakage of DRM information. The essential response is that Apple needs to license out their Fairplay DRM to other companies. This places a lot of burden on Apple because they now have to try and do damage control when a) leaks occur, b) MS, SONY, Creative, Craptastic Hardware INC., have a poor implementation of the DRM in their firmware. There is just too much at stake for Apple. Until this point however, the RIAA has been able to make any demands it wants, and have them met--and it will likely continue to have them met. In this case, Apple will likely have to give in and license out Fairplay because it would be easy enough for a company such as MS to go and offer to do this. If they do, then the RIAA may choose to pull it's catalog from Apple in favor of MS. Of course, there are market share issues, the fact that the Zune is the laughing stock of the galaxy, etc. it may not happen right away. European legislation could be very problematic for Apple in the end however. They don't want the same fines that MS has had to endure for its issues, and it might end up being better to either 1. license out Fairplay, or 2. pull out of parts of the European market for the time being.

    I honestly don't know that the RIAA/labels will budge on this issue. They are looking to get as much money as they can, but they may also choose to stop selling music to Apple anyway. Their actions suggest a lack of common sense recently, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them continue in this until it's too late.
  25. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    Hard to tell how much Apple gets paid. My web search came up with an estimate of 4 cents per song for Apple's cut based on Out of 2 billion songs, that makes it 80 million dollars. If true, that is not much considering the server farm, bandwidth costs and employee pay to keep it up. However, I don't know the accuracy of this 4 cent number.

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