Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Feb 2007 21:55 UTC, submitted by Francis Kuntz
Multimedia, AV Steve Jobs writes: "Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. 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."
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RE: It is called RDF
by zbrimhall on Wed 7th Feb 2007 04:06 UTC in reply to "It is called RDF"
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You'd think if DRM was so painful for Jobs he would start there.

I think the reason that he hasn't started there comes down to two things: a) it'd mean a change in infrastructure, which would be expensive, and no one really expects him to do it anyway; and b) it'd create an inconsistant user experience. While (a) is surely a factor, I think (b) is the more important consideration. From a user's perspective, things are best when a user doesn't have to deal with a situations where some music purchases behave differently than others, with no obvious pattern for distinguishing one type from the other.

You may have a point about his timing, though. Maybe he's posturing to cultivate a guru image now that the idea of DRM free music is a safer topic. Maybe. But Apple has been getting a lot of crap lately for its DRM practices, and it is not entirely clear that they are really the bad guys. Sure, Jobs could have said a big "f--k you" to the record execs, but then iTMS wouldn't have existed, and the online music market probably wouldn't have developed to a point where the labels would consider non-DRMed formats. The labels are paranoid; perhaps it's a good thing that they're being shown how ineffective DRM schemes are.

They went on to say that the iTunes store is a huge hit and sell a track every 58 seconds. Now, that it suits him, the Forrester numbers are suddenly valid? Truly amazing what passes for logic when people want to believe.

Oh, that. The Forrester numbers were taken out of context by everyone concerned. What they actually meant was that iTMS sales growth was slowing. Was that actually the case? I don't particularily remember what Jobs said at the Macworld keynote, but I don't think it matters. You can be hugely successful and have slowing growth at the same time, the two things are compatable. But your point about the surely-defunct iPods being counted in the songs-per-iPod figure seems fair, so I checked out the Wikipedia page for some hard data. Now, to be clear, Jobs has data on all the numbers he cited, but we don't really have good data on how many people are still using their old iPods. So I've assumed that we can throw out generations one through three, but keep all sales thereafter. I base this assumption on the fact that my 4G iPod, purchased in December 2004, is still running strong (and showing no signs of needing a new battery); but as always, YMMV. What are we left with? Roughly 85 million iPods, down from the 88.7 iPods that Wikipedia cites (Jobs, it seems, was rounding his sales figures up). In other words, discounting all iPods that I feel can be reasonably assumed dead, and using the company's estimate of two billion songs, we have 23.5 songs per iPod, up from Jobs' 22. But hey, let's assume that I'm the last person on the planet still walking around with a fourth-generation iPod, and that we should only count the fifth generation and up. That does cause the numbers to jump a bit--all the way to 33 songs.

All in all, it appears that the average iPod users's investment in DRMed music comes out to something between $22 and $33, or the price of a couple CDs. That does not a vendor lock-in make. It is an annoyance, to be sure, but that's the nature of DRM.

Nonsense. MS Plays Anywhere crap ran on a ton of players and wasn't cracked any more often than FairPlay.

Plays-for-Sure has been around for how long? I seriously don't know, and the Wikipedia article doesn't seem to say. However, the few points I was able to glean from the article seem to back up Jobs' assertions. For example, FairUse4WM cracked Windows Media DRM last August. Within a week, Microsoft had a fix, but that fix was bypassed within a few days. The Wikipedia article on WM DRM suggests that it took as long as two months for all the WM DRM distributors to get up to speed with the patches.

Also, Microsoft doesn't even use Plays-for-Sure! I mean, damn.

(Edit: Looking at the FairPlay Wikipedia article, I am unable to discern exactly what the status is of current FairPlay cracks. Hymn derivations haven't worked, I think, since iTunes 6, but it looks like DVD Jon has something that does work. Also, it looks like Apple applies the DRM on the fly as music is bought, which pretty much abolishes my reason (a) for a 100% DRMed music catalog waaay back up at the top of this stupildly long post.)

Edited 2007-02-07 04:18

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