Cupertino (CA) – Apple CEO Steve Jobs is trying to drive a stake into the music industry’s heart by calling for the end of copy protected music. He said that abolishing DRM-protected music would be, “the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat.” Jobs does have serious clout, after all Apple is the number one seller of online music, it’s unlikely that the big four music companies will go along with the plan.
Jobs made the statements in a letter posted on the main Apple website. You can read the 1800-word letter here. In it he blames the big four music companies, namely Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI of forcing iTunes to use DRM to protect music sales. According to Jobs, the record labels forced him to limit music to play on a maximum of five computers.
iTunes protects its music with a DRM system called FairPlay and there have been security breaches in the past. Jobs gave credit to hackers who are very good at cracking DRM saying, “there are many smart people in the world, some with a lot of time on their hands, who love to discover such secrets and publish a way for everyone to get free (and stolen) music.” Contractually, Apple must plug all breaches within a “small number of weeks” or face a complete withdrawal of an entire record label’s music catalog, something that would obviously be a serious blow to Apple.
Apple has been criticized for securing music with DRM with several European countries demanding that Apple open up iTunes, but Jobs says the blame has been misplaced and that he would go DRM free if the record companies let him. “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,” said Jobs.