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Mixed Apples with DRM

I've said this before, DRM can't work. Recently Steve's head said something similar. Apple claims that they provide DRM as a necessary part of licensing and if it was up to them they would offer DRM-free music to their consumers.

Let's assume this is true. Are their hands tied?
Apple doesn't want to license FairPlay because it would provide a migration path away from the iPod.
They can't convince the big four music studios to license their music DRM-free.

Guess what. Apple doesn't have to license FairPlay. They don't have to convince the big 4 music studios of anything. They just have to do one thing.

Follow through on their statement and allow 'some' tracks to be sold through the iTunes music store with no DRM. You don't have to convince the big four to ditch DRM. Just convince a few hundred independent musicians to offer some of their music for sale without DRM.

Given the choice between two songs (both that sound good). I'll choose the one without DRM, and I'll be more willing to buy it knowing that I'll be able to play that song on any device I own. If these DRM free songs do sell better then DRM ridden music, more and more artists will take the plunge. The big four are late adopters.

Apple can't rely on big music labels to make the change for their future, they need to rely on the creative independent labels and individuals making great music to help them make the change.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.