Next week Apple is probably going to launch another streaming service, and the Tame Apple Press is getting all warmed up to promote it as a cure for cancer. What they will not tell you is that it is DRMed up to the nines. In fact it is only going to work on Apple products – which we guess means that the only thing being listened to will be Coldplay, U2 and Justin Bieber.
In 2007, Steve Jobs wrote a fiery essay on Apple.com called “Thoughts on Music” which has mysteriously disappeared from Apple’s site. It contained one of the few things that Jobs wrote which we actually agree with.
The labels had forced Apple to use DRM in the early days of iTunes, and Jobs clearly recognised that although Apple and the iPod had emerged as the early winners in digital music, the effort required to maintain DRM over time – or license Apple’s DRM to other companies – would be better spent making new products and services.
“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.”
Despite rumours, it is not the labels forcing Apple to use DRM. It is Apple wanting to lock its customers into a single egosystem paying monthly subscription fees. This is the other side of Jobs’ philosophy which clearly did not mesh with the above quote.
In other words, Apple does not care if your listening “experience” is marred, or if new companies enter the industry just so long as you are listening on the right gear. U2, Jimmy!