Thoughts on Music

Steve Jobs wrote an article today (yes, this is rare) called Thoughts on Music, and it’s up on Apple’s site where you all can read it. It’s an excellent read, and it’s a rare treat, considering how tight-lipped Apple tends to be about things like this.

I understand it’s a little long, but if you care about the future of music, and especially if you care about DRM, it’s worth a read. DRM is a topic that affects all of us, and this article could end up being pretty significant in the history of DRM.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on Music

  1. That was a very nice article. I’m glad to see him take that stand, although I agree with the news reports that point out an unspoken target of the article is the EU’s deadline to make iTunes compatible with more formats.

    One thing, though. If the digital share of the music marketplace continues to grow, and the CD share continues to decline, Jobs’ arguments about the low percentage of iTunes songs owned by the average person loses much of its force. I take it that the Big 4 are making a calculated gamble on the future of the industry. So to argue that so little music is from iTunes is a tad odd. It’s maybe the first time a CEO has bragged that his/her company’s marketshare is 3% and not worth worrying about.

  2. Excellent points, TPY. It’s possible that some of this could be a reaction to the EU, and it certainly is odd that a CEO would seem to say, “Hey, look how small we are!” John Grueber agrees with some of your points, too.

    But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter to mere mortals like us what motivated the article or what strange stances are taken in the article as long as two things are true:

    1) The stances are factually accurate
    2) The stances are pro-consumer

    Both those things are true, and the second one is the most important. If the record companies would stop what they’re doing and realize that they’re already distributing most of their music in an unprotected digital format, they might realize that the benefits of removing DRM (interoperability, innovation, and good will) could very well outweigh the drawbacks (potential piracy).

    The thing we regular joes should take from this article is that the record companies need pressure from us to convince them to get rid of DRM. We should be preparing to apply such pressure, as only we can in our numbers.

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