Klaus
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Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:57 pm

In a clear response to some european consumer groups complaining about lack of interoperability with different digital music distributors, Steve Jobs has taken the unusual step of an open letter to respond - and potentially to open a new strategic front in the music business.

According to his article, he sees DRM more as the problem than as the solution:

Apple - Thoughts on Music

Music industry - your move!
 
dl021
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:20 pm

It certainly seems to me that he's putting the onus of responsibility for the issues squarely on the intellectual property owners who demand protection for their property.

I still believe that Europeans (specifically the ones who think they should benefit from Itunes without paying for it) or anyone else who want to download music from Itunes should either buy an ipod or stop crying about it. It's not a monopoly, and there are plenty of sources to get the music without using the website. They spent the time and money to develop the product, and it's certainly by no means a necessary item.
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IFEMaster
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:12 am

Rock on Steve. It's good to see someone with a bit of clout calling for DRM in it's current incarnation to be scrapped.

I'm all for intellectual property rights. The products my company produces are ours, and I certainly wouldn't want to find people copying them and flogging them on the cheap. And as a musician, I fully understand the work that goes in to producing a song. So I am absolutely for getting the artist and the publishers and whoever else has a stake in the work their fair share.

However, I am also for giving the consumer the freedom to enjoy their purchase when and where and how they want. In my opinion, Apple's DRM through iTunes is one of the most liberal, but I still get frustrated with some of the restrictions.

Current DRM is too restrictive. I think the entire concept needs to be taken back to square one and a new approach taken. I think current DRM does need to be scrapped, but it needs to be replaced with something that is somehow fair to all parties involved.
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searpqx
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:22 am

Quoting IFEMaster (Reply 2):
Current DRM is too restrictive. I think the entire concept needs to be taken back to square one and a new approach taken. I think current DRM does need to be scrapped, but it needs to be replaced with something that is somehow fair to all parties involved.

I agree wholeheartedly, but I fear the desire and the reality are going to be two very different things. The music/entertainment industry still hasn't come to grips with the digital age. Its taken them a decade to get to this point, I have no hopes that they're going to have a sudden epiphany and decide that the current model doesn't work. Instead I expect them to continue to attempt to tighten the screws, launch punitive attacks against abusers, and continue to see revenue decline. Only when it hits a crisis point will they suddenly wake up and come up with a functional model.
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MaverickM11
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:14 am

Well well...Apple wants record labels to do away with DRM and record labels want Apple to allow variable pricing. I don't know that Apple is in a position to demand anything of the music industry at this point?
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Halcyon
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:58 am

Very stylish, just like Apple's products. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Lucas
 
Goldenshield
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:38 am

I find this interesting considering Apple's ongoing international legal battles with Apple Corps. (a conglomerate originally established by the Beatles) because of Apple Inc.'s continued interest in music sales.
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IFEMaster
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:40 am

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 6):
I find this interesting considering Apple's ongoing international legal battles with Apple Corps. (a conglomerate originally established by the Beatles) because of Apple Inc.'s continued interest in music sales.

No longer ongoing. It was concluded just a few days ago.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6332319.stm
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N1120A
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Thu Feb 08, 2007 5:50 pm

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 4):
I don't know that Apple is in a position to demand anything of the music industry at this point?

They dominate the portable music player market. They are most definately in that position.
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Klaus
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Thu Feb 08, 2007 5:53 pm

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 4):
Well well...Apple wants record labels to do away with DRM and record labels want Apple to allow variable pricing. I don't know that Apple is in a position to demand anything of the music industry at this point?

The labels had wanted that all along - and even when iTunes hadn't been the dominant force in online music distribution they still didn't get it. Apple's position has become a lot stronger since then, so why would they get it now?

The iTunes store in Japan actually does have variable pricing, but that's a very specific market.

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 6):
I find this interesting considering Apple's ongoing international legal battles with Apple Corps. (a conglomerate originally established by the Beatles) because of Apple Inc.'s continued interest in music sales.



Quoting IFEMaster (Reply 7):
No longer ongoing. It was concluded just a few days ago.

Highly interesting, indeed!

While the conditions of the deal aren't public, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it handed Apple Inc. the ammunition for the nuclear option vs. the music industry: Apple might ditch the intermediate distributors and might offer exclusive contracts to the artists directly!

It would pull out the rug from under the increasingly nasty and onerous media industry and would open up the highly attractive opportunity for musicians (and TV and movie producers) to actually get a major share of the revenue at last.

Most artists nowadays receive mere cents from every CD sold - almost the entire sales price goes to distribution and marketing.

It is very much a possibility that the Apple/Apple deal was what triggered this initiative, with the european consumer groups being welcome allies more than adversaries...

It sure is getting interesting...!  mischievous 
 
IFEMaster
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Fri Feb 09, 2007 12:03 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 9):
Apple might ditch the intermediate distributors and might offer exclusive contracts to the artists directly!

While I like that idea, it's unlikely to happen simply because of the existing contracts already in place between artist and record company. Most artists who appear on iTunes already have a name and a record deal, and the norm for recording contracts is to include exclusivety clauses. If Apple were to offer a contract directly to an artist, the artists would likely be in breech of his or her recording contract if that offer was accepted, and therefore they'd likely lose their record deal.

You're right about how much artists make per CD, though. A good friend of mine is a royalties analyst for WMG, and he's shown me the process. Artists only make money once all advanced monies for recording and production costs have been recouped, and then they make about 6.5 cents per song on each CD sold. They make a bit more for public plays of the songs such as radio and TV, but it's live performances and tours where they make their real money.

If an album bombs, the artist makes no money. Take Alanis Morissette's second album. Her record company advaned her $750,000 to make that CD. To this date, WMG have only recouped about half of that and Alanis hasn't made a dime from that recording.
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Klaus
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Fri Feb 09, 2007 12:32 am

Quoting IFEMaster (Reply 10):
If Apple were to offer a contract directly to an artist, the artists would likely be in breech of his or her recording contract if that offer was accepted, and therefore they'd likely lose their record deal.

Sure - but I would expect it to be a gradual process anyway. At least theoretically a musician could buy a Mac, use the included Garage Band software for a simple production (provided there wasn't an expensive backing orchestra required), hit a newly included Upload button and wait for the returns to roll in via his iTunes account. The titles could be linked to his own web site for internet promotion (he'll have the web editor included with the computer as well).

(Garage Band is basically the consumer version of Apple's professional music applications Logic Pro / Logic Express which many musicians already use anyway.)

There are too many pieces already in position to dismiss the possibility completely.

Of course it would cause quite a stir with the existing labels, but it is not entirely inconceivable that even (and especially) one of the bigger names might "switch" eventually as well once his/her label contract was up.

The musicians would have to bear most of the risk (at much lower technical production costs than in earlier days), but would also reap most of the benefit.

The current model of record labels eating the biggest part of the revenue for physical distribution won't survive in the long run, and Apple is the only player in a position to take up the slack.

And Steve Jobs would not be who he is if he wasn't acutely aware of it...   

[Edited 2007-02-08 16:34:37]
 
TedTAce
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Fri Feb 09, 2007 12:46 am

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 4):
I don't know that Apple is in a position to demand anything of the music industry at this point?

If they could Partner with Microsoft's legal team, trust me when I tell you they could mop the floor with some industry execs. IF they choose this path I say their collective sales would also skyrocket. Besides what's the music industry going to do? Stop releasing new material?  rotfl 
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Klaus
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:00 am

Quoting TedTAce (Reply 12):
IF they choose this path I say their collective sales would also skyrocket. Besides what's the music industry going to do? Stop releasing new material?

Well, Apple can't just decide that on their own because it would breach the existing contracts; But building pressure on the labels is certainly the right approach to get there eventually...!
 
IFEMaster
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:47 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 11):
Sure - but I would expect it to be a gradual process anyway. At least theoretically a musician could buy a Mac, use the included Garage Band software for a simple production (provided there wasn't an expensive backing orchestra required), hit a newly included Upload button and wait for the returns to roll in via his iTunes account. The titles could be linked to his own web site for internet promotion (he'll have the web editor included with the computer as well).

(Garage Band is basically the consumer version of Apple's professional music applications Logic Pro / Logic Express which many musicians already use anyway.)

Sorry Klaus, I'm going to disagree with you on this one  Smile

Garage Band is EXCELLENT for demos, but that's where it stops. It doesn't have the versatility of Logic Pro, and Logic Pro itself is light years away from the likes of Pro Tools or Nuendo. And with the software aside, a quality recording comes from so much more - room acoustics, sound dampeners, auralex noise absorbers, external compressors and noise gates and processors. No established artist is going try and sell anything on a large scale unless there's some real production done.

However, as a 'demo' option, it would work. I could see an artist doing a one-off 'live from my living room' kind of thing with an acoustic guitar, but other than that, I don't see this concept ever really catching on.

Speaking of Pro Tools, by the way, the best thing Digidesign ever did was shift their focus from making it a Windows product to a Mac product. I was in a recording studio nearby a few months ago that had just upgraded to Pro Tools HD, and I was absolutely stunned at the scope of the software. There are features available only in the Mac version that made the Windows version look very Mickey Mouse. Now, let's hope that Steinberg go the same way with the next version of Nuendo!
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Klaus
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Fri Feb 09, 2007 5:01 am

Quoting IFEMaster (Reply 14):
Sorry Klaus, I'm going to disagree with you on this one

No problem! Big grin

Quoting IFEMaster (Reply 14):
Garage Band is EXCELLENT for demos, but that's where it stops.

Well, if someone was to make a relatively plain and pure live recording, my guess would be that Garage Band should be serviceable enough.

I wasn't trying to make the point that it was enough for every taste and demand; Just that the way from production to sale and listening could be shortened dramatically in some cases.

There are of course many well-produced recordings, and I like a complex and rich texture in music very much; But there are also quite a few bands and individual artists who simply don't need fancy arrangements and backing orchestras because their musical capital is not foremost in aesthetic beauty but in their expressiveness. In many cases a raw live recording has more emotion, more life and simply more groove than a licked and technically perfect studio production.

The studio system with its massive overhead and its often clueless chasing of the millionseller at the expense of the really interesting artists tend to push highly produced crap onto the airwaves and into the CD stores.

A shortened and inexpensive distribution channel like a hypothetical iTunes upload'n'sell mechanism could make major changes to that. And be it lowering the threshold to market entry for beginners and helping them test new stuff until they can afford a more lavish production.

It won't be all easy and there will be lots of crap as well, but I think the internet can help sort it out faster than the old mechanisms could.
 
TedTAce
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RE: Steve Jobs: Let's Remove DRM From Music Downloads!

Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:59 am

Well Like I said, if MS and Apple get on the same train...

http://www.playfuls.com/news_06165_B..._DRM_Is_Bad_Are_They_FairPlay.html

Granted they don't seem to want to persue the legal option like I want them to yet, but the fact they are 'on the same page' is good for EVERYBODY.
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