Wednesday, February 07, 2007

But As A Business Model, It's Scary....

Steve Jobs has replied to European regulators, investigating whether Apple should be ordered to license its digital rights management software to its competitors, by suggesting that record companies "should consider dropping the anti-piracy restrictions they impose on music downloads."
"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.
I suspect that he's correct, and that sales of DRM-free music would significantly exceed current music sales levels. While some would abuse the system, I would expect music industry profits to nonetheless increase due to the higher levels of sales.


  1. . . . but it would represent a loss of control and a change . . . and big business isn't so good at dealing with those things . . .


  2. It sure would.

    A similar phenomenon can be seen right now with YouTUBE, where some copyright holders are insisting that Google remove thousands of music videos. I suspect that the easy availability of music videos is not having a significant impact on how people listen to music, but it probably is awakening interest in bands and music which would otherwise be forgotten.

    Is it better to hide that absurd 1986 video for a band nobody remembers because it is copyrighted, or is it better to let it circulate and perhaps even generate some sales? I would say it's the latter.

    My guess is that the companies which hold the copyright aren't so much concerned about the sales they might lose, but are instead trying to extort significant payments (perhaps on a "pay per view" basis) from Google.

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