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Jobs Favors DRM-Free Music Distribution 755

Another anonymous reader tips an essay by Steve Jobs on the Apple site about DRM, iTunes, and the iPod. Perhaps it was prompted by the uncomfortable pressure the EU has been putting on Apple to open up the iPod. Jobs places the blame for the existence and continuing reliance on DRM squarely on the music companies. Quoting: "Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries. Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free. For Europeans, two and a half of the big four music companies are located right in their backyard. The largest, Universal, is 100% owned by Vivendi, a French company. EMI is a British company, and Sony BMG is 50% owned by Bertelsmann, a German company. Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly."
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Jobs Favors DRM-Free Music Distribution

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  • mod jobs up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @04:45PM (#17910382) Homepage Journal
    finally, somebody in the business had a shot of insight.
  • win / win (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cpearson ( 809811 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @04:49PM (#17910454) Homepage
    With public relation statements like this coupled with the DRM 'ed iTunes how can Steve and Apple lose?

    Vista Help Forum []
  • by davebarnes ( 158106 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @04:49PM (#17910456)
    I actually read the complete commentary by Steve Jobs.
    He is dead on.
    The music industry (RIAA and their cohorts in crime) have completely botched the distribution of music in an internet-enabled world.
  • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi@GIRAFFEevcir ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @04:50PM (#17910490) Homepage
    Apparently Apple was forced to put DRM up. If you remember correctly, a few years ago, Apple even promoted copying music as one of the things you could do with the (back then) new Apple with CDRW (G3's).

    Steve Jobs and Apple have always been holding their leg stiff against the record companies as much as possible and now they're kicking back. I think the record companies and affiliates finally see that DRM is hurting them bad, worse than the so-called pirating going on.

    I don't buy DRM'ed music, I refuse and I rather buy an MP3 from an indie artist or download a good song through BitTorrent. Well, I hope they finally start offering MP3's or any other codec (Ogg perhaps) without DRM.
  • Re:mod jobs up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zelet ( 515452 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @04:51PM (#17910500) Journal
    If they don't agree to the music industries terms they can't sell music. How does that help the fight against DRM. Being a hugely popular player/store in the world of online music advocating against DRM plays a more important role than just abandoning the market.
  • Re:mod jobs up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheMeuge ( 645043 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @04:54PM (#17910556)
    It's not Jobs' insight that we have to admire, but rather his willingness to not only rationally assess the situation, but also publicly acknowledge the failure of DRM as a means to an end.

    In this case, Jobs demonstrated that common sense CAN dominate over greed, even in a corporate environment. Jobs realizes that DRM may lock some users into iTMS, and they might lose some market by dropping it. However, he also realizes that users are growing more irritated with DRM in general. But more importantly, he understands that by abolishing DRM, he can dramatically boost the sales of music online.

    Therefore, it is only logical that he supports abolishing this monstrosity - it hurts B&M distributors, while boosting internet sales.
  • Re:mod jobs up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmp_nyc ( 895404 ) * on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @04:54PM (#17910578)
    Feh, he's only saying the exact same thing ("don't blame us, they made us do it!") that Microsoft says. Actions speak louder than words. Of course, this is Slashdot, so it will be proof of Apple's godliness and Microsoft's perfidy.

    Except that Jobs comes off as sounding level headed and well thought out, while Bill Gates has managed to come off as whiny in his recent media appearances. Tone goes a long way towards persuasiveness.
  • by arose ( 644256 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @04:55PM (#17910598)
    That explains why they apply DRM even to music that is sold in DRM-less versions elsewhere...
  • Re:mod work up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @04:55PM (#17910602) Journal
    That's completely different, that's Apple's fault. Jobs is trying to convince people that the reason their shiny new iTune won't play on their polished brown Zune is the music company's fault, not iTMS, and that the music companies need to change how they allow iTMS to sell their music, rather than governments forcing Apple to let competitors use their DRM.
  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @04:57PM (#17910650) Journal

    Say what you will of Steve Jobs, he whole-heartedly believes in Apple's products, and in their ability to compete on a level playing-field. How many other companies, owning the sort of market-share that Apple has in digital music, would even countenance changing it ?

    And, he's not insane - Apple make their money on hardware, not so much on the iTMS itself - the risk is relatively low for Apple, conversely so for the labels. It is in fact likely to give SJ *more* power in his dealings with the record labels - Apple are the entrenched brand, the shining beacon over the dark landscape of pirated music . Once DRM is gone, the labels will need Apple to be even more on-side than they do currently, because they'll have lost the small measure of control they currently have.

    As far as Apple is concerned, it's a win-win. Steve probably expects to lose sales on the iTMS, but that non-DRM'd files would become more-commonly shared, raising the number of people who want a DAP, and given the public's current opinion on which DAP is the best, he feels confident Apple will benefit overall. Still takes some cojones to suggest it, though... A bit like when they cancelled their best-selling iPod model (the original mini) because they had a better version. A traditional business would have milked the mini for all they could, first.

    I think the whole RDF is simply that Steve *really* *really* believes in his companies products, that belief shines through in his body language, his tone of voice, his whole attitude. People pick up on that and empathise with it. It's a great sales technique, but it needs products that really change the world to do it. Apple strives to make that sort of product.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @04:59PM (#17910704)
    "We" do have the power to fight the record companies through our governments. Something you Americans seem loathe to do, but Europeans are not. Right now a few European governments are fighting Apple, so naturally Steve'd want to redirect their attention to the source of the problem.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:00PM (#17910724)

    What is amazing to me is that Jobs/Apple have a near monopoly on digital music downloads/players that would only be hurt by a lack of DRM lock-in and yet Jobs is still advocating for the change. Would any other company or CEO do this?

    Most iPods are still filled primarily with P2P downloads and ripped CDs. The lock-in they have is not all that valuable and probably not worth the bad press they receive as a result of it. I have long said the ITMS and Fairplay were just there to sell iPods not make money and the Fairplay was the least intrusive DRM they could get the studios to buy in on. Jobs stated long ago that DRM does not work for stopping piracy. He knows the score. DRM exists to promote incompatibility such that the media companies can get people to buy the same music for different uses (ring tone, in the car, portable, home stereo, etc.)

    Apple saw this use coming an stepped in to make sure the Mac line of computers was not destroyed by it once Microsoft controlled DRM using their OS monopoly. The fact that they succeeded as well as they have is somewhat miraculous and I suspect surprised even them. They set out to stop macs from being third class media citizens and ended up the big kid in the portable player market. Don't get too excited though. Windows Media Format - PlaysForSure is still the most common DRM scheme in use since so many people accidentally rip their CDs to that format with WMP's default settings. Now Apple is being attacked through legal channels and several companies have a vested interest in making sure Fairplay is defanged, while PlaysForSure and the Zune DRM formats are not. Jobs is doing the right thing here by turning their press attacks against them and asking for no DRM, rather than a situation that will inevitably lead to MS owning the space.

  • Re:mod jobs up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by soft_guy ( 534437 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:01PM (#17910736)

    Feh, he's only saying the exact same thing ("don't blame us, they made us do it!") that Microsoft says. Actions speak louder than words. Of course, this is Slashdot, so it will be proof of Apple's godliness and Microsoft's perfidy.
    As an Apple fan who hates Microsof's products, I have to say the following: I do not blame Microsoft for DRM in media files. Clearly the music companies and movie studios have demanded this.

    The fact is that iTMS was the FIRST legal online music store. Apple had to do a lot of work to convince the music companies to allow legal distribution. They did not have the music companies over a barrel as I've heard some people claim. They were negotiating from a position of weakness. It was months before iTMS even had enough sales to say they were selling more than vinyl LPs.

    As Bill Gates pointed out, from the point of view of the individual consumer, ripping CDs still makes more sense than iTunes music store for a number of reasons: no DRM, get a higher quality copy of the music, you have a physical media as a backup if your hard disk fails. The iTunes store however, is still more convienient. So, it is not without value, but I often choose to buy a used physical CD via Amazon marketplace rather than buy from the iTunes store for precisely the reasons I stated. So, ITMS isn't locking people into the iPod via DRM - DRM is often blocking people such as myself from buying from the iTunes store.

    Obviously a DRM free iTunes store would be better than what we have now. I think it would be MORE popular, not less. Would iTunes have competition, yes they would since obviously other vendors could sell DRM free music. OTOH, I think Apple could still be competitive in such an environment. Their store is easy to use and nice.

    I think this article basically says two things that I didn't know before I read it. First, it puts Apple on record as opposing DRM. Second, he gives an argument against licensing FairPlay to other vendors that I hadn't heard or thought of before (i.e. that other vendors would leak the keys and this would require the iTunes store to be shut down.)

  • Sign of a trust (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:05PM (#17910810) Homepage Journal
    The fact that a whole industry can press for something out a vendor is a sure sign of price fixing and various other crimes done by trusts. It's time to dust off the Sherman Anti-trust act, and use it on this horrendous industry.
  • by Watson Ladd ( 955755 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:05PM (#17910814)
    It's called the goverment. It makes laws and can fight companies for you. People control it in most places.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:06PM (#17910838) Homepage
    What is amazing to me is that Jobs/Apple have a near monopoly on digital music downloads/players that would only be hurt by a lack of DRM lock-in and yet Jobs is still advocating for the change. Would any other company or CEO do this?

    Because he knows it'll be a cold day in hell before the big studios agree to it, and gets him out of hot water with the anti-competitive investigations that's going on in Europe. "See, we don't *wan't* to hold this monopoly, but the studios are forcing our hand. We can't do anything to stop it, really we can't." Plus the PR is good too. iTunes is on the fast track to become a huge outlet of music, and the longer they can keep the FairPlay show on the road, the more powerful they'll get. I'm sure that with their "all songs are DRM'd alike" they can pull a "all or none" stunt even if one of the big ones actually starts to lean towards DRM-free music, making sure it doesn't actually happen. It's a win-win all around for Jobs.
  • by dynamo ( 6127 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:07PM (#17910856) Journal
    It's government that has the power, not him.
  • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:07PM (#17910866) Journal
    Not a hard concept, but I'll go ahead and let you in on it:

    Someone else's contract != your contract.

    If you were to sign a contract to buy wingnuts from the Acme Wingnut Corporation for $0.02 / wingnut and then you see that another guy is only paying $0.01 wingnut, would you just pay $0.01 / wingnut, or do what your contract says?

    What do you thing the Acme Wingnut Corporation would expect to receive?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:09PM (#17910912)
    An Apple lawyer has already said that Apple wouldn't ditch DRM for iTunes even if the labels stopped demanding it.

    Because everyone knows that unnamed lawyers quoted in Slashdot postings know a lot more about a company's internal strategy than the CEO quoted on his own damn website.
  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:11PM (#17910940) Journal
    Or just plain old Steve Jobs RDF, but it's by far the most candid piece of "straight talk" I've ever heard from the CEO of a huge company like Apple. Well done, Steve-O, if that little piece doesn't sell an extra 10 million ipods, then I don't know what will.
  • by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:13PM (#17910962) Homepage Journal
    Are you familiar with the origin of the word "icon"?

  • Re:mod work up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:14PM (#17911008)

    Jobs is trying to convince people that the reason their shiny new iTune won't play on their polished brown Zune is the music company's fault, not iTMS, and that the music companies need to change how they allow iTMS to sell their music, rather than governments forcing Apple to let competitors use their DRM.

    Actually, Jobs provides several alternatives, but says that banning DRM altogether is in the best interests of the consumer. Here's a question for you, what DRM scheme is used to protect most songs on people's computer's? Answer: PlaysForSure. There is only one reason for this, Microsoft has a monopoly on desktop OS's, with which they bundle Windows Media Player which adds that DRM when it rips CDs by default. Has any government stopped this illegal bundling? Nope. Now, however, there have been several governments trying to stop Apple from leveraging their near monopoly (possible monopoly) on portable digital music players, to promote their own DRM scheme, Fairplay, and keep it the second most common DRM scheme. Does anything about that seem odd to you? I mean MS was actually convicted in the EU of bundling this, but not stopped or punished in any meaningful way. Apple might have enough market to have a monopoly and government officials are making public statements about legislation and legal action.

    Apple is the reason MS does not control the DRM market and use it to intentionally promote incompatibility. Apple's main concern was making sure this was not used to disadvantage macintosh computers. Now they have their iPod to defend as well. Making DRM go away results in a free market and both these products get to compete on their own merits in this market. Defanging Apple's ability to leverage the success of the iPod, while not doing the same for MS's ability to leverage the success of Windows has only one likely result and it is not good for anyone.

    I completely understand why getting rid of DRM is good for both Apple and consumers. What I don't understand is why anyone would quibble about this and try to imly that just opening up Fairplay would do the same thing.

  • by hondo77 ( 324058 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:17PM (#17911052) Homepage

    Apple will blame anyone but themselves and try to spin it so that they don't look bad.

    Apple's CEO just said that they will make all the music they sell DRM-free if the labels allow them to. Where is the spin here?

  • by tinkerghost ( 944862 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:21PM (#17911104) Homepage

    I think he's assuming that all of the 97% of non-iTunes music is non-DRM, but it may be possible that some fraction was bought from other stores. Anyway, it's interesting data, IMHO
    iPods only play Fairplay DRM. They don't play plays4sure or any of the others. So yes, if the music plays on the iPod, and it isn't wrapped in Fairplay, then it's DRM free.

    How many places besides the iTunes store can you get Fairplay wrapped music? None that I'm aware of. So if iTunes didn't sell it, it's going to be DRM free on the iPod. So his numbers do hold up.

  • Re:mod jobs up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:23PM (#17911138)

    In this case, Jobs demonstrated that common sense CAN dominate over greed, even in a corporate environment.

    I disagree. Oh, I think banning DRM from media companies is good for everyone, but I think in this particular instance getting rid of it benefits Apple more than keeping it. Right now Apple faces the possibility that they will no longer be able to leverage the iPod to promote FairPlay. Since MS can still leverage Windows to promote PlayForSure, that means if Apple is forced to take this action Apple will lose (as will consumers) as MS eventually monopolizes that market segment as well. Job's press statement capitalizes upon all the bad press they have been getting lately and turns it from a liability to a benefit. Instead of looking like a greedy exec, he takes the people's side against DRM in general, which would leave a relatively level playing field and the iPod and macintosh computer could both compete on their merits (something Apple is not afraid of). Considering a likely alternative is Apple being forced to license FairPlay, while MS is not forced to allow any given party to license PlaysForSure or whatever they decide to bundle, this is not common sense over greed, but common sense that happens to coincide with greed.

  • Microsoft releases an OS that won't run software that ran on it's own earlier operating system, and also tends to corrupt a music device which is in competition with their own music device and it's Apple's fault? Microsoft has pushed multiple DRM setups and then stopped supporting it's own damn standards but Apple is the bad guy?

    I don't buy any drm'd music, but Apple's is surely the least abusive...It allows you to burn it to a cd, which can then be ripped back into an un-drm'd format...Pretty obvious that they did the minimum amount of work that would satisfy record companies that were so damn drm obsessed that they were shipping cd's with a free rootkit included.
  • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <> on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:26PM (#17911210) Homepage Journal
    Okay, poor choice of words. I just meant that they refuse to license it for use in other playback devices.

    And why should they? Steve Jobs is obviously a smart guy; things he's said and written elsewhere make me think that he understands the inherent problems behind DRM.

    In short, DRM doesn't work. It works, sort of, only by keeping the mechanisms out of sight, and changing them all the time, as people catch on and figure out what's going on "behind the curtain."

    The more people you let see behind the curtain, the harder it is to make work, and keep working, even in the shoddy way that it does currently. Licensing means that specifications and technical documents need to be written, and such documents can be leaked (and are far more likely to be leaked when they're being sent to some licensee in Europe, than kept within a particular technical working group inside Apple US). So if Apple licensed out FairPlay, it would mean that FairPlay would get broken more often, and they would have to dedicate more effort to fixing it, and those fixes would be harder to roll-out, because there would be more users, and multiple online music stores, run by various licensees who might take their responsibilities for updates more or less seriously, etc. etc.

    DRM isn't a single technology that you can sell. It's not a word processor. It really is defective by design; that's not just some dumb slogan -- that is reality. Anyone who buys a DRM system, thinking that it's a product they can just use, and then forget about, is a fool. A DRM system is an arms race. It can only work when you're committed to throwing a lot of programmers behind it; programmers who are constantly shoring it up, as people pull the bricks down from the outside. And the work that it takes to sustain is directly proportionate to the number of people who are working to crack it.

    Licensing out FairPlay would be a losing proposition for Apple on all fronts. It would force them to lose revenue from the iTMS, which isn't exactly a huge profit center anyway -- as others have pointed out, Apple makes a lot more money on an iPod than they do on the average user's iTMS purchases. Plus, it would mean that they would have to spend a lot more effort constantly fixing FairPlay, and it would create a huge logistical problem -- how do you roll out those fixes to users who may be using some licensee's music store? If Apple doesn't keep FairPlay's facade of security up, the music labels will use it as a bargaining point in negotiations, but they'll be dependent on their licensees, who they don't have total control over, in order to maintain that facade. It's a lose-lose for Apple.

    Personally, I don't think Apple will ever license FairPlay. I think they'll pull all DRMed music from the European market, and close the iTMS there, before they'd open the can of worms that licensing would entail. Exactly what would happen at that point is anybody's guess, but there are a whole lot of iPod-owning Europeans who probably want some type of online music store, and Apple is pretty good at PR. They might be able to turn it into some sort of a victory against the governments mandating the interoperability, or against the music labels who won't sell DRM-free music. Or it might backfire horribly and cause a lot of people to run out and buy non-iPod MP3 players in order to use competing online stores (though I doubt it; I don't think that the presence or absence of an online store is a huge selling point of most music players, except those linked to subscription services like Napster).
  • by noewun ( 591275 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:30PM (#17911264) Journal

    What is amazing to me is that Jobs/Apple have a near monopoly on digital music downloads/player

    Apple does not have a monopoly on digital music players. From Wikipedia []:

    In economics, a monopoly (from the Latin word monopolium - Greek language monos, one + polein, to sell) is defined as a persistent market situation where there is only one provider of a product or service. Monopolies are characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide and a lack of viable substitute goods.

    Apple is not the only provider of digital music players. There is no lack of competition in the marketplace for digital music players. Apple has the majority of the market because more people want to own iPods than any other music player. There is no conspiracy and no monopoly.

    I personally don't think removing DRM would have any effect on iPod sales, as most people I know have bought little to no music from the iTMS. I think I've bought four albums from them.

  • by topical_surfactant ( 906185 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:34PM (#17911370)
    ...and still spews some record-company bullshit, like equating the copying of music to stealing.

    They just don't get it. If the music was unrestricted, I'd buy it even at $1 a shitty, uber-compressed song. But their business model actively sodomizes the legitimate customers while pirated music remains restriction-free. DRM does absolutely nothing to prevent piracy, and it never will. In fact, it is such a thoroughly broken idea that I find DRM's continued use to be insulting on a personal level.

    I blame both the recording industry cartel and Apple - It takes two to tango.
  • Apple's CEO just said that they will make all the music they sell DRM-free if the labels allow them to. Where is the spin here?

    But there's already music on ITMS that's sold DRM-free elsewhere.

    Why doesn't Jobs sell some DRM-free music right now? (hint: to shackle you to future ipods).
  • by Durandal64 ( 658649 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:44PM (#17911564)
    It's obviously an all-or-nothing deal. He wants a consistent user experience so that the customer knows what he's getting every time. Microsoft caught shit for pimping the Zune's squirting and then turning around and selling tracks that certain artists didn't want to be squirted. That kind of inconsistency adds complexity. The iTunes store is supposed to be simple. There's no conspiracy here. On average, barely 3% of the music on an iPod is from the iTunes store, so if a customer really wants to move to another player, he's not going to feel "locked in" by 3% of his music collection. If you'd read the damn essay, you'd know that.
  • Re:mod jobs up (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:46PM (#17911588)
    The terms of Apple's agreement with the Big Labels don't allow them to apply the DRM system selectively; it has to be on basically all of the iTMS, even independent tracks. Nor can they sublicense the DRM software without permission (as that might allow someone else to develop a player that had the keys, but didn't play ball with the restrictions).

    The labels essentially said "DRM on everything or we're not buying in", and Apple wasn't in a position to refuse, although they did make the lightest DRM they could get away with under the terms.

    They need to get the labels on board, again, to agree to removing the DRM. Happily, some of them are starting to see sense. Also, their store having been single-handedly responsible for at least one major no.1, and with a continually growing customer base, Apple is now in a much stronger position to negotiate, and with major governments disapproving, particularly of Apple's contractual inability to sublicense the DRM system, they may be able to tip the scales.

    They'd like to sell m4a instead of m4p in the future (frankly, I'd prefer FLAC or WavPack, but would settle for Apple Lossless... or maybe LAME 3.97 --preset fast standard), and possibly even distribute an update to the iTunes software which decrypts already-bought m4p files to m4a. However, whether or not they get to do this is ultimately up to the big record companies.
  • by avronius ( 689343 ) * on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:49PM (#17911644) Homepage Journal
    Did you ever own a cassette player? Perhaps buy a cassette tape? When you switched to a CD player, did you buy a CD version of that music? Remember that while CD's were available for sale in the mid-late 80's, recordable cd-rom wasn't mainstream unitl mid 90's, so this [no, I just burned my own cd's] argument doesn't fly.

    If you buy iTunes music today and switch platforms later, you now have to buy a different format of that same music. How is this different?

    The only things that shackles you to an iPod are the headphones. That and perhaps your inability to read the article.
  • Re:iTunes and DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by soft_guy ( 534437 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:50PM (#17911662)

    The computer I originally downloaded them on no longer exists, so I have no way to deauthorize it.
    False. There is a way to deauthorize it. From Apple's website: []

    How do I deauthorize all of my computers?
    If you have authorized five computers, a button labeled "Deauthorize All" will appear in your Account Information screen. This button will deauthorize all computers associated with your account. You can then reauthorize up to 5 computers. Note: You can only use this feature once a year.
    Apple isn't as stupid/evil as you think.
  • Re:mod jobs up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CDarklock ( 869868 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:52PM (#17911690) Homepage Journal
    I work at Microsoft on Vista, and I've been telling people this for months. If you'd rather listen to Steve Jobs, fine, but you can't pretend he's the only one saying this.
  • by Johnny Mozzarella ( 655181 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @05:53PM (#17911698)
    Yesterday we find out that Apple Inc and Apple Corps have settled their legal differences.
    Today we get a letter from Steve telling us why the big 5 record labels are bad.

    Could it be that Apple could be looking to become record label #6 and offering its music DRM-free?
    Inquiring minds want to know.
  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @06:00PM (#17911838) Journal
    There's no doubt that Apple prefers to tie their products and software together, whenever possible. But I fail to see why some people (assuming you included, from the tone of your message post) see this as inherently "bad/evil"?

    *All* computer manufacturers did things this way from day 1, until IBM's personal computer design got ripped off/cloned left and right by everybody under the sun, bringing it to the forefront as a new "standard".

    Apple has wandered in that same general direction whenever it becomes obvious it provides a concrete business advantage. (Today's Macs let you use industry-standard SATA hard drives, and pretty much anyone's peripherals that support standard USB ports, for example. They also migrated to Intel's CPUs across their entire product line, and even allow/sanction the use of Windows on them!)

    But in general, I think Apple's products work so well precisely BECAUSE they believe in providing the "whole package" to the customer. This model is used by all the console game systems out there, and it works just fine for them too.

    I'm lost on your comment that Apple is a company that "tries to make you buy hardware you do not want, to get software or tunes you do"? If this were really true, they wouldn't have developed the Windows version of iTunes at all. (EG. "Too bad, buddy. If you want to participate in one of the most friendly and more complete online music stores, you need to buy a Mac first!")

    No... More and more, I think Apple is proving to be a media company. If anything, they see themselves in a market-space more like Sony. Sony makes computers (usually stylish ones at that), but they're also a media company, in the music and movie business, as well as offering consumer electronics goods that tie in with those areas. Apple in the past has sold digital cameras (the Apple Quicktake series), has a set-top "Apple TV" box going on the market, and a growing interest in selling movies AND music content via iTunes. Soon, they're going to offer cellphones too.

    They certainly want you to LIKE and WANT their hardware -- and people who do buy their hardware rarely seem to regret it. Most of the negative comments I hear about Apple hardware come from people who haven't ever purchased any yet!
  • by giminy ( 94188 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @06:03PM (#17911896) Homepage Journal
    OS APIs change all the time. If I wrote an audio driver to work with the Linux 2.2 kernel, should I expect it to work in 2.4? Hardly! That's why Linux has the odd releases. I should try my driver under 2.3 and see if it still works. If not, I should learn what's changing in the kernel and port appropriately.

    I've had developer releases of Vista coming through my office for the better part of a year. If Microsoft changed something at the last second (which they didn't) Apple would have a case (which they don't).

    If anything, Microsoft changing the way its OS works is a great thing. There has been a lot of criticism in the security world because Microsoft has tried to be *too* backwards-compatible, to the point of ignoring security ideas in favor of still being able to run Edgar the Virus Hunter. Microsoft has been responsible in responding to security threats and changing The Way Things Work. To me (an Apple user and Apple lover) it looks like a decision-maker at Apple messed up, and figured that Vista wasn't going to be much different than XP. Oops.
  • by Pascal Sartoretti ( 454385 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @06:05PM (#17911952)
    Steve Jobs is Disney's biggest shareholder. I wonder if he would also favour DRM-free movies...
  • by tfinniga ( 555989 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @06:14PM (#17912152)
    So, one interesting thing about DRM is that it enables a particular business model that is completely unfeasible without DRM. Here's a hint: it's not the iTMS model.

    The Zune store, and any other subscription business model requires DRM. You can buy DRM-free tracks. It's impossible to rent them.

    Perhaps this is why iTMS hasn't offered a subscription option.
  • by dr.badass ( 25287 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @06:16PM (#17912180) Homepage
    Do not forget that OS X is tied to Mac hardware by a "Trusted Computing Module".

    It isn't now, nor has it ever been. Most if not all current Macs don't even have a TPM. Earlier models that did didn't use the TPM in any way. Where the hell do you get your information?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @06:21PM (#17912278)
    Have you ever programmed for Windows before in your life? MS goes way out of their way to ensure that legacy API work as expected, to the detrement of the OS itself. Only in recent times have they made consessions of breaking API where security is required.

    Apple, on the other hand, wholesale changed their platform in every conceivable fashion. For MacOSX you had to port to Carbon if you wanted to ensure that your apps would work, otherwise it would run in emulation, and that emulator would only handle PowerPC. This means that at the time that MacOSX was launched Apple officially obsoleted every program written six years earlier for the Motorola chipsets.

    On Vista I can run software written for DOS/Windows in the mid 80s, without even a recompile. How much software can you claim to run on your Mac in the same way? I fucking thought so.

    If Microsoft has one major failing it is that they have accumulated such a massive amount of legacy support that it has turned the API into a tangled mess.
  • by mrwonton ( 456172 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @06:34PM (#17912580) Homepage
    The 3% argument falls a bit short. While it's true that on average 3% of the music on iPods came from the iTMS, it's by no means evenly distributed. In my experience, I've found the majority of people have either little-to-no iTMS music (usually far less than 3%), or a significant enough percentage that they wouldn't want to give it up and buy it all over again on a new platform. People are certainly still being locked in, but it's good to see that that's not Steve's goal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @06:45PM (#17912760)
    It's different because our expectations are different. CDs can't play in cassette players for the obvious reason that they have a different form factor. You point out that recordable CDs were rare/expensive/not yet invented - so literally it was impossible to format shift. However, if you bought a different brand of CD player, all your CDs would still play on it.

    Digital audio files are just that: files. We expect that PDFs will be readable on any computer, we expect that pictures will be viewable on any computer. Files have no form factor restrictions, and we expect that they should play on any device that can play digital audio files.

    Apple are in a dominant position in this market now. If they want to start selling DRM free music, they surely can demand it of the labels themselves - why are they whining to us? Also, there are a lot of indie labels ( such as Warp et al. [] ) who already sell DRM free MP3s - does iTunes offer these DRM free?
  • by rainman_bc ( 735332 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @06:47PM (#17912796)
    The only people I know who don't like iPods are tech snops who won't like it just because its made by apple, even though its a very competant little player.

    Personally, I don't like them because I have to use gtkPod or iTunes ( if I had a windows or mac ). I want an mp3 player where I can just add folders and songs and let the player handle the rest.

    Sorry, but IMO ( and I'm obviously NOT the majority ), iPods are overblown hype and don't really offer me anything that I'm interested in.
  • by norminator ( 784674 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @06:51PM (#17912882)

    no, i don't buy his argument one bit. his keys would not be anymore loose than they are by keeping it on the ipod.

    I didn't interpret what Jobs said to mean that licensing FairPlay to other companies would make the actual keys less secure, but rather that it would make it more difficult to maintain the whole system, especially security updates, if breaches do occur. As it is, when FairPlay gets broken, a new version of iTunes is released (with new firmware for the iPod), and eventually you won't be able to use the iTunes store without the new version of the iTunes software. That's confusing and irritating enough for customers, but imagine if they license their DRM to 3 separate manufacturers. When PlayFair/hymn/whatever-it's-called-today breaks (or works around) FairPlay, 4 different manufacturers would now have to have updated firmware for each of their players, which may or may not be tied to a new version of their own music management software. Then Apple has to at least be aware of and give some support for (to the other companies, not the end-users) FairPlay on 4 different platforms. It makes sense to me.

    Of course, I haven't really ever heard of Microsoft's PlaysForSure being hacked, even though pretty much every non-Apple portable player uses it. Why? I don't know, maybe I just haven't paid attention, maybe DRM is the one area where Microsoft has been consistent and solid... too bad even MS has abandoned PlaysForSure for the Zune.

    It's funny to me that France, Norway, and many people on slashdot complain about Apple's DRM... then Microsoft turns around and does the exact same thing in tying their player and DRM together in one inseparable package, leaving the one viable multi-company DRM system out in the cold.

    As far as campaigning versus advocating, what more do you want? He's already been arguing pricing with the companies ever since the iTunes store opened. He's already turned down paying a fee to the RIAA for each iPod sold, now he's made a very public statement on his company's (not his personal) website, explaining his feelings on DRM. Sure, he could be pandering to some degree to the anti-DRM crowd. I'm sure there's not an insignificant amount of strategy behind FairPlay not being licensed to other companies. Keep in mind, he's not only the CEO of Apple, Inc., he's also the largest individual shareholder and board member of Disney, which happens to be a very large content producer. For him to speak out against DRM, at all is a big move.

    But I don't see any reason to believe that he wouldn't want to see DRM removed entirely. Apple doesn't need the store to lock people into the iPod. The masses have already chosen the iPod as the portable music player. iPod has become a general term for mp3 players. Less DRM = more demand for players in general, the iPod in particular.

    Of course Jobs is a businessman, interested in increasing market share and making money, so it makes sense to not completely trust him. But to say he must be lying just because he says what we'd like to hear is going a little too far.
  • by GoulDuck ( 626950 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @07:16PM (#17913396)

    He also explains that only 3% of the music iPods are capable of storing are DRM'd/from the iTunes store, the other 97% is likely pirated or legally ripped from CDs or other sources. So most people are not locked in since most if not all of the music on their iPods is not DRM'd.
    Well, DRM keeps me from buying the music online and therefor would look like I'm not locked in. No I'm not in. I'm locked OUT! I cannot download music from their musicstores, because if I do, I (or rather, my music) will become a part of those 3%. I don't want to be locked in. And I'm getting damn tired of ordering CD's online, waiting for the CD to arrive, put it in my computer and rip it, when iTunes and other musicstores offer me to download it within a minute.

    This a holding me back at buying music. They are loosing money, while the music I do buy, will be counted in as "DRM free" and will help the 97% to get even bigger.

    I would just love it, if they would remove DRM for good. I would probably go from $ 10-20 to $ 100-200 a month, if I could have the ease and speed of downloading it. (this last line was just added to remind the "big four" about what they are missing out on... :-)
  • by ross_stensrud ( 1007607 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @07:43PM (#17913858)
    Stop believing everything you read on the internet. If jobs didn't want DRM then iTunes would sell MP3s where they could, ie everything available on e-music. Apple isn't interested in selling music for profit. If they were they would push for vairable pricing, which they have stringently opposed as well. To them music is just a loss leader for iPods and iPhones. Its the same model as wal-mart and best buy with CDs. Jobs is pointing the finger at labels so that they look like the bad guy instead of him, and guess what... Its working!
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:00PM (#17914122) Homepage Journal

    MS has just released a new OS that is more locked down with DRM than any other OS so far.
    Which MS did in order to deliver HD-DVD, using the same excuse that Jobs uses to justify iTunes/FairPlay ("they won't let us sell content without it").
    Let's see what Apple does or doesn't do to their OS to support HD movies before we judge them less evil than MS in this regard.
    The difference being that everyone WANTS to download music, which the studios fight against, and most people don't give a fuck about HD movies, which the studios are pushing.

    "I bet the latest Wayan Bros. movie would have rocked if only it was in HD!"
  • by mstone ( 8523 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:09PM (#17914226)
    Bah.. having read the article myself, I think a better summary would be, Nate Anderson lists some reasons why Apple benefits from DRM, and uses an unnecessarily controversial title as a hook to draw reader attention.

    Here's a tip: Nate isn't an official Apple spokesperson. His views and opinions are his own, and have about as much bearing on Apple's strategic goals as yours or mine do. Now, if you can point me to an article that has a single verifiable quote from someone who oficially speaks for Apple saying, "hey, we're right behind DRM," then you might have a point. Otherwise, the best legitimate summary you can get is, "Nate thinks Apple likes DRM."

    If you want to see DRM's best friends, look at the RIAA and MPAA. They're the ones who continue to spend tons of money lobbying Congress for laws that would make hardware DRM mandatory in any device that touches any device that could ever potentially touch content. They're the ones who've spent tons of money on markting campaigns that say, "you wouldn't commit genocide against an entire, harmless, sentient species, so why would you consider letting another person watch a rented movie on your HDTV screen without paying us theatre royalties?"

    Or perhaps look at the DRM that Microsoft has rolled into Vista. Show me how Apple has loaded its flagship products with restrictions that turn them into crippleware as soon as one sees anything that looks like protected content.

    Hell, if you want an opinion piece, try this one: How Apple Could End Up Being DRM's Worst Enemy:

    The labels wanted to use DRM to control the consumer's access to content. They'd be happy to legislate away fair use and sell it back to us, impose bullshit like tiered pricing for anything that actually sells, and screw hardware vendors for the infamous $1-per-Zune "because we all know your customers are criminals" fee.

    But they can't, because Apple doesn't like those ideas. And the labels famously failed to strong-arm Apple at the last contract negotiation because they need Apple more than Apple needs them. The iPod is the dominant product in the market, and the only way to sell DRM'd content for the iPod is through Apple.

    In short, Apple is using DRM to screw the labels harder than the labels have been able to screw the consumer. And the labels are getting so tired of being screwed by Apple. They're so tired, in fact, that they're starting to look at dropping the DRM just to take some of the edge off Apple's market dominance.

    Let's be clear here, boys and girls: if the labels do away with DRM, it won't be because they've spontaneously turned into "information wants to be free" idealists. They'll do it because it's hurting their bottom line. And who's the company that's used DRM to hurt the labels's bottom line rather than using DRM to help the labels screw consumers? Apple.

    All the ethical rants, consumer hostility, and technological circumvention to date have failed to make the labels back away from DRM. They've only entrenched the labels more firmly in the idea that they need legal control over everything up to and including the consumer's eyes and ears.

    If the labels decide to drop DRM, it will be because of how Apple used DRM to screw the labels out of money. Period.

    Show me a more effective enemy than that.
  • by neuro.slug ( 628600 ) <> on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:16PM (#17914326)
    I'd like to meet these "expert" listeners. Maybe they should bring in a few people who refuse to buy MP3s at all because of their lossy nature (yes, we do exist). Take an exceptionally-recorded piece of rock or classical music, encode it to 128kbps AAC, and listen to it on even a mid-fi system. You will hear loss of dynamic transience. You will hear altered timbre on certain instruments (e.g. cymbals). There is a perceivable difference if 1) you have a decent sound system (Bose crap doens't count) and 2) you know what to listen for.

    The fact that aforementioned so-called experts can't distinguish 128kbps AAC from lossless redbook format completely discredits them IMO.
  • Re:Of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lars T. ( 470328 ) <Lars.Traeger@goo ... Ncom minus berry> on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:21PM (#17914396) Journal

    It's not as if my time is worth something or blank CDs cost money.
    Should have thought of that before you bought a computer.
  • Not true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:30PM (#17914506) Homepage Journal
    Gates comments was about the current DRM and the need for better DRM, Jobs is about getting rid of DRM.

    But I can see how someone like you wouldn't be able to figure that out...
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:32PM (#17914520) Homepage Journal

    people who refuse to buy MP3s at all because of their lossy nature (yes, we do exist). Take an exceptionally-recorded piece
    [no comment]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @09:28PM (#17915148)
    Music fan: Someone who listens to their music
    Audiophile: Someone who listens to their equipment

    Has it occurred to you that you're just not part of the target audience for online music distribution? If 99.99% of people are happy with 128Kbps AAC quailty, I don't think Apple is going to go back to the drawing board on behalf of that last 0.01%.
  • by ZoneGray ( 168419 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @09:33PM (#17915190) Homepage
    The contractual requirements highlight the problem of distributed secrets, which is basically what compromised CSS, and seems to be a weakness in the HD-DVD scheme, too.

    Give him credit, he's willing to sell the iPod on its own merits, and doesn't need the music store to lock you in. Any way you cut it, the iPod will be more desirable (read: more profitable) if the store ISN'T encumbered by DRM.

    It would also eliminate a whole bunch of security programmers from the distribution chain, which would benefit everybody except the programmers.
  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @09:42PM (#17915284)

    Either Jobs is totally clueless or he wants to keep the lock in since apple is a hardware company

    Or the much more likely reality: you have no idea the position that Jobs is in, or the complexities of licensing from multiple labels, and licensing DRM to multiple companies, with a multitude of different contractual relationships in play. How many multinational technology companies have you been CEO of?

    Seriously, do you think that Jobs can just wave a magic wand and have everybody using Fairplay for their players, and:

    a) Have it all work technically, without a nightmare of support issues
    b) Not violate any agreements or contracts
    c) Not violate the laws of any country or anti-trust laws
    d) stop the DRM from being cracked daily, or having the IP leaked

    In addition to all of this, what if Apple does manage to get the studios to drop DRM for the iTunes store? Apple would be stuck supporting a DRM scheme that they never wanted, for the benefit of third parties who want to keep using it. If Apple's goal actually is to get rid of DRM eventually, licensing Fairplay makes this much more difficult to do.

  • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee@ringofsatur n . c om> on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:06PM (#17915442) Homepage
    "they surely can demand it of the labels themselves - why are they whining to us?"

    What do you think Jobs just did?
  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:27PM (#17915592)
    Comvenient cop-out? The record labels are to blame. Why is it wrong to blame the people whose fault it is? In case you have a short memory, Jobs is about the only person yielding any significant power within the industry to seriously fight DRM. He spent months trying to get the studios to back away from draconian DRM when he was in negotiation with the record labels for the iTunes Music Store Launch. He really did not want it, and negotiated the best compromise he could at the time.

    Don't you even remember those days? If it was all about lock-in to the music store, why did Apple start with the "Rip, Mix, Burn" iTunes ads? Don't you remember how Apple was a major target of the RIAA and labels for that campaign? Jobs was demonised for encouraging music piracy - and it was reported in many places as if Apple was the new Napster for encouraging people to "rip" their CDs. Under the pressure, they added "please don't steal music" stickers to the iPod. Other companies would probably simply have removed the ability to rip CDS from their product - or put DRM on the ripped files like Microsoft is wont to do.

    You whiners should remove your heads from your asses. Without Jobs, we wouldn't have any high-profile people with the power to influence DRM and the labels in a positive way. We'd still be in the dark ages, with the labels denying it was even possible to make money selling music online, and your only choices would be CDs or bittorrent. Now Apple is in a position to fight for the repeal of DRM on music altogether. But you just want to undermine it. Fucking idiots! You whine all the time about how DRM is evil - then someone comes along with the capacity to get rid of some of it, and you just diss him? You don;t even know what's good for you.

    Seriously, which tactic is going to work - whining all the time and running lame "defective by design" campaigns with the FSF - or having an ally who is successful and influential, with contacts within the actual record labels? Someone who actually makes the labels money and has revolutionized their business? Yeah, I'm sure they are going to listen to some FSF protestor who says he won't buy music online anyway, over someone who makes them millions of dollars.

  • by EggyToast ( 858951 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:58PM (#17915830) Homepage
    And I'm sure Jobs would LOVE to move those programmers to work on another project. Devoting a good chunk of his staff simply to appease the record companies, when they could be working on products that actually make profit, isn't exactly the best use of employee time.
  • by RodgerDodger ( 575834 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @11:19PM (#17916020)
    Apple only puts DRM on content sold through the iTMS _if_ the content provider (and presumably copyright holder) asks for it. It's not automatic.

    You can even buy non-DRMed material via the iTMS - there are some independent labels up there who don't want to use DRM. It's still AAC, but it's not DRMed.

    As Jobs said - if the music industry is concerned about the DRM lock-in created by Apple, there's an easy fix: don't use DRM.
  • Re:mod jobs up (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @12:16AM (#17916430)

    > finally, somebody in the business had a shot of insight.

    >> I work at Microsoft on Vista, and I've been telling people this for months. If you'd rather listen to Steve Jobs, fine, but you can't pretend he's the only one saying this.
    I think what the grandparent meant was, finally, somebody in the business whose opinion actually matters had a shot of insight. ;)
  • by NMerriam ( 15122 ) <> on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @03:40AM (#17917652) Homepage

    My girlfriend has a pair of E2Cs, which she can easily tell the difference betweek 192k VBR mp3 and lossless.
    Wow, you and your girlfriend should get jobs as audio engineers. In double-blind listening tests, even the guys at Hydrogenaudio can tell no difference between most modern audio codecs at 128kbp or higher and CDDA. I remember doing my first ABX test back in 1999 and laughing at how bad even 192kbps MP3s sounded. I recently ABXed a dozen codecs after reading the Hydrogenaudio results, and outside of classical music couldn't tell the lossy from the lossless until the compression was 112kbps and below. Audio compression has come a long way since BladeEnc.
  • by edbaskerville ( 1060908 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @04:05AM (#17917778)

    You're exactly right. As others have pointed out here, however, it's likely that the terms of the agreements with the big 4 require that all music sold on the store be protected with FairPlay. Still, I think this open letter may begin the process to a DRM-free world.

    It was my fear—and probably the fear of many people here—that Apple's motivation for using FairPlay was twofold: one, that the music companies wanted it; and two, that they wanted to help strengthen the iTunes/iPod tie-in. Turns out, if Jobs is being fully genuine, that only the first reason is true. Which is a wonderful thing, because Apple is on the side of those who really get the future of music: savvy consumers and independent artists.

    This calls for a grassroots effort to get Apple to alter its contracts with the music companies to allow copyright holders to specify that their music be sold without DRM. If enough consumers and artists start shouting loud enough, this just might happen. If Apple's hands are tied because of contracts, I seriously wonder if a lawsuit by an artist against Apple could force Apple's (willing) hand.

    Ideally, of course, the music companies will just wise up, realize their old business model cannot be preserved with encryption technology, and give up the gun. But I'm not holding my breath.

    Are there any existing activism efforts by artists to get Apple to sell DRM-free music on iTunes? If there isn't one, consider this post a statement of intent to start such an effort. I happen to be in a band [] that just released a a cd [] under a Creative Commons license. If nobody else is on the ball, I will contact people at Apple, start an open letter/petition, and hopefully get this first step—letting copyright holders decide if they want DRM or not—going.

  • by Durandal64 ( 658649 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @05:29AM (#17918294)
    Except that the metric by which Apple would judge the success of the Grand Lock-in Conspiracy(TM) is average number of DRM'ed songs per iPod, because that's the most conservative estimate. How is Apple supposed to know whether an iTunes customer has an iPod or which iPods are no longer in use? It gives a ball-park estimate. So let's say we've got 45 million iPods still in use, half of the ones that have been sold. That's 44 songs per iPod in use. Still, not incredibly locked in. The person could still burn to a CD and re-rip. Okay, so let's say half of all iPod owners don't actually buy songs from the iTunes Music Store. Okay, average of 88. Still below a hundred. This also means that Apple has to spend money and risk getting the music catalogue pulled to keep half their user-base potentially locked in. Now, for simplicity, let's say that half of all people feel "locked in" after 88 songs. So Apple's spending all this time and effort to lock in a quarter of all iPod buyers.

    This is a simplistic analysis. But this should show that it's not as simple as DVD John makes it out to be and certainly not as simple as how Steve Jobs made it out. But really, the true answer is probably in the same order of magnitude. You also have to take into account how big a factor "iTunes lock-in" is in future purchasing decisions. Most people just don't even know that iTunes DRM is there. They just buy new iPods because ... OH MY GOD THEY LIKE iPODS. Apple spends a whole lot of money on marketing. Why do that if the Grand Lock-in Conspiracy(TM) works so well? For a lot of people, the "lock in" factor doesn't even register. They just like their iPods, so they keep buying them.

    So yeah, it's complicated. And it's not easy to figure out. What does Jobs' analysis tell us? It's a conservative estimate of how well this supposed lock-in works. And that estimate is not kind. Generally, in business, if a conservative estimate makes something not worthwhile, then don't do it. Just assume that the worst-case scenario is how it actually is and go by that.

    As to his comments about TV shows and movies, once you've watched a TV show on your iPod once, you're not nearly as likely to watch it again. Same with movies. Songs are really all that matters here. The most likely videos you'll end up replaying are ones you've made yourself with something like iMovie, which doesn't generate DRM-encrypted movies. If Apple really wanted to lock people in, they could do a far better job for far less money. Or they could make iTunes rip to DRM'ed AAC's. Guess what? That would mean lock-in for free. No having to put up with music companies' threats of pulling their catalogues or anything.

    DVD John may be a smart guy, but this theory that "Steve Jobs is using bogus statistics on purpose to back an argument he doesn't really believe in (which is bound to piss off the people who license him his content, and those people just happen to be a cartel) just to make himself look better to the geek crowd that hates DRM and maybe appeal to governments that have already made it clear they don't like what he's doing" is just ridiculous. Please.
  • by toQDuj ( 806112 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @07:58AM (#17919128) Homepage Journal
    "I'd like to meet these "expert" listeners."


    AAC at 128 kbit is good enough for me. I certainly cannot hear any artefacts on my system (Sennheiser HD-600 connected to a Denon DA convertor and AHA headphone amp).

    With MP3, you certainly can hear some artefacts, an aquarium-like effect in the higher regions. But this seems to be not the case for AAC.

    With respect to your comments on "transience", "Timbre" and stuff, show me some measurements. Show me some real stuff, not some huggy-feely analysis, be more like the people at Audioholics ( es/index.php).

    Please point out the differences in balance in a frequency spectrum that might be perceived by the human ear, then I'll be happy to agree with you.


Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"