Jobs Makes A Plea [5:30 pm]
Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs on Tuesday called on the four major record companies to start selling songs online without copy protection software known as digital rights management (DRM).
Jobs said there appeared to be no benefit to the record companies to continue to sell more than 90 percent of their music without DRM on compact discs while selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a DRM system.
“If such requirements were removed, the music industry might experience an influx of new companies willing to invest in innovative new stores and players. This can only be seen as a positive by the music companies,” he said in a statement posted to his company’s Web site (pdf).
From Jobs’ manifesto:
So if the music companies are selling over 90 percent of their music DRM-free, what benefits do they get from selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a DRM system? There appear to be none. If anything, the technical expertise and overhead required to create, operate and update a DRM system has limited the number of participants selling DRM protected music. If such requirements were removed, the music industry might experience an influx of new companies willing to invest in innovative new stores and players. This can only be seen as a positive by the music companies.
“For the labels, it feels like jumping off a cliff,” said Hilary Rosen, former head of the Recording Industry Assn. of America, the U.S. recording industry’s trade group. “But at this point they have little choice because this is where the market is going.”
[...] “The lack of operability between a lot of different devices and digital platforms is becoming more and more of an issue for music consumers,” EMI spokeswoman Jeanne Meyer said. “We’ve been out there engaging with various partners to come up with a solution. The consumer response has been enthusiastic.”
[...] “In the real world, when you buy a CD, it’s yours â€” you do what you want,” said Matt Graves, a spokesman for RealNetworks Inc., the Seattle company behind the Rhapsody online music store. “These restrictions hurt people who are trying to do the right thing.”
[...] “The picture he paints in his letter is a vision that is commonly shared in the music industry,” said Jason Reindorp, a Microsoft marketing director, referring to Jobs. “It’s a balance issue. It’s balancing what the consumer wants compared to what the labels and artists need.”
The NYTimes: Jobs Calls for End to Music Copy Protection
The Universal Music Group, the Warner Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment declined to comment. But several industry executives said they viewed Mr. Jobsâ€™s comments as an effort to deflect blame from Apple and onto the record companies for the incompatibility of various digital music devices and services.
[...] Officially, the industry chose to respond Tuesday by seizing on one idea that Mr. Jobs raised â€” licensing Appleâ€™s own copy-protection system â€” even though he went on to reject it. â€œAppleâ€™s offer to license FairPlay to other technology companies is a welcome breakthrough and would be a real victory for fans, artists and labels,â€ the Recording Industry Association of America said.
[...] Jason Reindorp, marketing director for Zune at Microsoft, said Mr. Jobsâ€™s call for unrestricted music sales was â€œirresponsible, or at the very least naÃ¯ve,â€ adding, â€œItâ€™s like heâ€™s on top of the mountain making pronouncements, while weâ€™re here on the ground working with the industry to make it happen.â€
Do I detect a trace of hysteria on the part of Reindorp? How well *is* Zune doing? And what will this kind of speculation do to its sales?