Steve Jobs Speaks Out Against DRM

Flying around the web right now is news of Steve Jobs’ post on the Apple website called “Thoughts On Music.” In it, he wonderfully confronts the four major labels for holding tight to a broken system of digital rights management for what amount to a measly 10 percent of their total sales. CD sales, says Job, account for 90 percent of music sold and have no DRM whatsoever. So why have it on digital sales? Steve doesn’t know, and neither do I. Fear of the unknown, I suppose. The labels have a terribly negative view of its potential customers, and fail to realize that it is their own fault (through exorbitant prices - why are CDs the same price now as in the 80s?) that users stormed the peer-to-peer networks like Napster and Kazaa for free music only a few years ago.
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. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.
That is rockin’. Half p.r. move it might be (though what does Apple have up its sleeve that it would be pushing with this pseudo-press release?), with this move Apple is making public its feelings about DRM, and taking the labels to task on a worthless practice. iTunes customers should now know that there would be an alternative if not for the Big Four’s big greed and paranoia.

Love or hate Apple, this is a big step towards a DRM-free future.

Which is to say, it is a step towards the future, finally.