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Music Execs Say Apple's DRM Hurting Industry

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the reference-the-pot-and-the-kettle's-similar-color-here dept.

Music 405

EMB Numbers writes "C-Net says last year saw a 131 percent jump in digital sales, but overall the industry still saw about a 4 percent decline in revenue. Some executives at this week's Digital Music Forum East conference lashed out at Jobs, blaming Apple and its CEO for their troubles. The impression at the conference was that Jobs' call three weeks ago for DRM-free music was anything but sincere. As the article puts it, 'Apple has maintained a stranglehold on the digital music industry by locking up iTunes music with DRM ... and "it's causing everybody else who is participating in the marketplace — the other service providers, the labels, the users — a lot of pain. If they could simply open it up, everybody would love them.""

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Bullshit (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197290)

DRM is what's hurting the (online) music industry. It needs to be eliminated, not "opened up".[1] Looks like the industry is a little irked at Jobs' statement.

Apple has already laid down its cards. "Open" DRM (can there be such a thing?[2]) is just as bad as any other DRM. It does not serve the customer.

The labels are hurting the industry with DRM. Apple is willing to ditch it wholesale (i.e., isn't interested in iTunes/iPod "lock-in").

The ball's in the music industry's court, not Apple's.

[1] Arguments about whether or not there would have been an iTunes store in the first place aside. There is one now, and online music has made a good showing. It's up to the industry to decide how to proceed, not Apple. Simply changing the face of DRM isn't a "step in the right direction."

[2] Yes, I know what they mean by "open" DRM. But who's it open to? Only other competitive music stores? So we can have one universal DRM "standard"? Aside from the massive technical hurdles to coalescing DRM with all the disparate formats and stores, is that really the right step to take?

Re:Bullshit (4, Interesting)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197340)

I agree. I read the summary and was simply dumb struck with how oblivious those Music Exec. are to the true cause of their suffering. Maybe instead of blaming everyone else, look in the mirror you idiots! You have fought digital online music since your first heard the term "MP3". Top that off with suing your own customers in mass, and its no wonder your revenue is falling! People don't want to buy from you!

Re:Bullshit (2, Interesting)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197376)

if you want a good feel for how bad this open DRM is try using the new bittorrent store or even better with free TV try using the AOL In2TV [aol.com] great site with a ton of good content for free download. Yet after each commercial during the show, you need to go back to the site and get re authorized for the DRM. Absolute pain in the ass.

Re:Bullshit (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197386)

Apple is willing to ditch it wholesale (i.e., isn't interested in iTunes/iPod "lock-in").
Could you further explain that? I would think millions of people's music locked exclusively to Apple hardware would be enough to make Jobs swoon.

In any case, sure is nice to be an onlooker as music execs "feel the burn" of DRM, isn't it? Kinda sucks when everything is locked to somebody else's best interests without regard to you, doesn't it?

Re:Bullshit (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197500)

Could you further explain that?

Sure.

Jobs said it would get rid of DRM in a heartbeat on all media on the iTunes Music Store. I believe that to be true.

Further, I think Apple believes that it would actually be in a better position without DRM than with in terms of sales volume and customer satisfaction.

Long before the iTunes Store existed, the iPod was already the best selling music player. That's because it didn't suck, not because people were "locked in" to iTunes. In another way, you could argue that even before the store, you still got the most benefit from iPod by using it in conjunction with iTunes.

So in some respects I agree that Apple definitely encourages people to use its products and the "ecosystems" that go along with them (iLife, iTunes Store, and so on), but Jobs doesn't feel that DRM is good for the industry as a whole, and indeed only hurts and confuses honest consumers, in addition to never stopping piracy, since it will always be able to be defeated.

So, to expand on this a bit, would Apple be happy if it lost customers? No. But I believe Apple thinks the iTunes/iPod combo is so compelling to most ordinary consumers that they'd get even more customers without DRM. Apple doesn't need DRM to keep people on iTunes and iPod.

the lord of lockin (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197764)

>So in some respects I agree that Apple definitely encourages people to use
> its products and the "ecosystems" that go along with them (iLife, iTunes
> Store, and so on),

In some respects?
No company does the lock thing as well as Mac.

Anyone like you who can claim to know exactly what Jobs thinks of DRM is full of crap. The art of marketing at which Apple excells is all about bullshit.
I DONT know Jobs' true beliefs either so I use OTHER things about his and his corpotation's behavior to make my opinion unlike fanbois who see the usual posturing as some holy revelation.

Re:Bullshit (5, Insightful)

k2enemy (555744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197966)


in other words...

with DRM: apple gets a big share of the pie
without DRM: apple gets a slightly smaller share (debatable) of a much bigger pie

apple has huge market share because their products are better than everyone else's, not because consumers are locked into itunes. i don't think ditching DRM would hurt apple at all.

Re:Bullshit (2, Insightful)

DJCacophony (832334) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197406)

Jobs only said he was opposed to DRM because he knew that it wouldn't make a difference. It was a publicity stunt, but nothing more. He simply announced "hey guys, I hate DRM as much as all you, but I'm being forced to use it. I'm the victim here." If given the choice to ditch DRM or not, you had better believe Apple would choose not to. They make more money the way it is now.

Re:Bullshit (3, Interesting)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197526)

Apple doesn't make money on the downloads and they don't make money off of iPod's because of iTunes. They make money off of iPods because iPods have seriously outdone the other music players/companies. Are the technical features of an iPod that much greater than others? nope, in some cases it's inferior (no built in FM tuner, etc) and yet iPod is STILL the number one music player. People want that player, regardless of whether or not they use iTunes.

If iTunes opens up to non-DRM (AAC) stuff, iPods will continue selling like hot cakes. Besides, iTunes DRM is crackable and even if not you can just burn to CD and rerip into mp3's.


Re:Bullshit (4, Insightful)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197674)

Apple doesn't make money on the downloads and they don't make money off of iPod's because of iTunes.

They do make some money from downloads from iTunes, but not a whole lot. Best estimates are consistently coming in at about $.04 a track.

Yippee.

What the labels are REALLY pissed about here is there's a medium that's successful and popular and growing over which they have little control. They subverted the radio long ago by Payola and it's more sophisticated successors, and MTV became irrelevant the minute they stopped showing videos.

What they just can't seem to grasp is the iTunes is the least of their worries. Once more and more bands become popular via MySpace and the like and home recording gets better and better, the label's usefulness to a band will get smaller and smaller. They should be more worried about acts like Bare Naked Ladies taking their music to the web: That will hurt them more than Apple ever did.

Re:Bullshit (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197604)

This post of mine will answer your questions:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=222358&cid=180 14768 [slashdot.org]

In short, I think the conspiracy theories that Jobs only said he was against DRM for PR reasons and to look good are utter bullshit. Jobs' statement on DRM is the single biggest shot across the bow of DRM that anyone anywhere near this industry has taken, ever. From the CEO of the company with the largest online music store, no less. From a board member of a major motion picture house, no less.

This isn't just lip service. This is huge, and that's why all the DRM and music industry types have been reacting to it so vocally and aversely since it was made. Apple doesn't need DRM to keep people on iTunes and iPod. People get iPods because they don't utterly suck. Jobs also (likely correctly) feels that the entire online music industry - of which iTunes is a huge part - would be MUCH better off without DRM.

In fact, if it's true that online sales would explode if you could actually get lossless, no-DRM versions of music and media online, as so many staunch anti-DRM advocates argue, then it's true that Apple's business would significantly grow, as the existing market leader in this area. I know that people want to think that Jobs was just lying for PR's sake and really secretly wants to hold onto DRM as tightly as it can, but that simply doesn't stand up to logical scrutiny, considering the scope and impact of this statement. Further, iPods - which is where Apple makes its money - were already the market leader by far before the iTunes store even existed.

Re:Bullshit (0)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197846)

Jobs also (likely correctly) feels that the entire online music industry - of which iTunes is a huge part - would be MUCH better off without DRM.

That must be why he allows indie artists and studios to sell their music on iTunes without DRM.

Oh wait, he doesn't.

-Eric

Re:Bullshit (3, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197904)

That must be why he allows indie artists and studios to sell their music on iTunes without DRM.

Oh wait, he doesn't.


Oh wait, it's not that simple, and I already answered those concerns in the very post to which you replied:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=222358&cid=180 14768 [slashdot.org]

Re:Bullshit (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198020)

While we are all waiting, did you, in this post you link to (I can't read it, it is a point by point rebuttal), explain why he hasn't used his power as a Disney board member to get Disney to release DRM free electronic material?

Re:Bullshit (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197962)

Jobs also (likely correctly) feels that the entire online music industry - of which iTunes is a huge part - would be MUCH better off without DRM.

That must be why he allows indie artists and studios to sell their music on iTunes without DRM.


Oh wait, he doesn't.


-Eric

wait, you are complaining about quality control? ;)

Re:Bullshit (1)

slackmaster2000 (820067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197624)

"[2] Aside from the massive technical hurdles to coalescing DRM with all the disparate formats and stores, is that really the right step to take?"

Yes! That way I'd only need one tool to remove the DRM from my stuff. As it stands now, I have to use like two or three.

Re:Bullshit (2, Insightful)

AndyG314 (760442) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197626)

I have to disagree with you here. What the music industry needs (really what any media industry needs) is a consistant platform on which to deleiver their content. When you buy a cd, it works in every cd player, no matter what company made the cd or the cd player. The problem with apple's drm (from the music industry's point of view) is that it only works with apple's software/hardware.
Apple is preventing widescale addoption of a standard DRM, they are the predominant player in the industry, and without their support no standard would be viable, yet they refuse to let others use their standard. This forces the online distrobution industry into a state of limbo.
From the industry's prespective what apple is doing is very bad, but it's also bad for the customers. Apple's use of their own DRM makes interopeability of apple and non-apple players dificult, and may require you to re-purches things.
If a standard drm could be implemented that allowed the files to be played on all standards complient devices it could really allow online music distrobution to take off.

Re:Bullshit (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197648)

The solution isn't standardized DRM. It's no DRM. The music industry wants you to believe the only practical solution is the former. The real solution is the latter, for all the reasons Jobs outlined, not the least of which is that DRM will NEVER stop piracy and ALWAYS be able to be defeated.

Re:Bullshit (1)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197872)

Absolutely right. Think what happens if Apple opens DRM. Some company will want to implement it. But there's a catch - it OpenSource Player company. So source of FairPlay will leak into the wild. How hard would be to crack FairPlay afterwards? Not at all. What happens if they refuse to release it to that company? Lawsuit plus probably huge fine from EU.

There's no such option as standard open DRM. It will simply not work. The only way is to totally ditch it. And start using sensible pricing techniques. MPIA/RIAA are losing out because their time is passing. More people use internet - and they just don't want to accept the fact.

Re:Bullshit (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197884)

If a standard drm could be implemented that allowed the files to be played on all standards complient devices it could really allow online music distrobution to take off.

Yeah, they could use the same DRM they used on the CDs you mentioned earlier. NONE!!!!

A DRM free product is infinitely easier to build a large market for than a DRM constrained product.

Re:Bullshit (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197900)

That's an interesting argument, but if I was running a corporation selling something in 2 formats, one of which was seeing huge increases in revenue and the other of which was doing so badly that my overall revenue was still down, I'd think that from my point of view the incredibly profitable side of my business wouldn't be the one I saw as "very bad".

Apple should just close their music store entirely and watch every single record label file for Chapter 11 by the end of the year.

Re:Bullshit (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197772)

You know, maybe the RIAA actually has a point here, maybe the entire industry should use the same DRM.

Hey I have an idea, they could call it CSS!! Yeah, that would be a great name for an "open" (heh, in more ways than one) DRM.

I'm not an ostrich. Honest! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18198008)

"Gewecke...defended record labels against the criticism that the music industry has its head in the sand and just doesn't understand the Digital Age."

"He said that Sony BMG is working with technologists and retailers, and is constantly is looking for technological solutions to some of the industry's problems."

Good work Mr. Gewecke. You've just validated your critics' point. The fact that you're looking for a technological solution proves you don't understand the Digital Age. How's that sand taste, anyway?

Re:Bullshit (1)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198010)

Funny thing, that I don't think the music execs are getting, it's not Steve Jobs and iTunes/iPod that's causing them "trouble". It boils down to the consumers choosing the iTunes/ipod solution over the also-rans. IT'S THE CONSUMERS!

You can argue all you want about the "lock-in", but let's face it, everyone else has a lock-in to some degree and Apple's is the one the consumer is choosing.

I have an iPod and I've bought about 5 songs from iTunes. The rest of the music is music I put on there from purchased from CD's, a majority of which I already had and about 20 others that I've bought since buying the iPod

I hate DRM, wish it would go away, but from my point of view, Apple's is the lesser of the evils out there.

Re:Bullshit (1)

walter_f (889353) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198044)

The labels are hurting the industry with DRM. Apple is willing to ditch it wholesale

That's what Apple _says_.
But that's not what Apple _does_.

Apple might start offering indy tracks (at least those that are offered DRM-free in other online shops) DRM-free tomorrow.
Even better, Apple might have offered these indy tracks (a substantial number of them) DRM-free from the launch of the iTMS.

Double standards?
Hypocrisy?
Or just old worn-out "money talks"?

DRM Free! (1)

DesertBlade (741219) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197306)

ALL music should be DRM free. Nothing I hate more than buying a song on Itunes (or anywhere else) and trying to place it on my MP3 player from a few years back. I can burn it to a CD and then rip the MP3s out, so why don't they save me a few steps?

It almost drives me to find the song elsewhere. I said almost.

Re:DRM Free! (2, Insightful)

analog_line (465182) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197498)

How about driving you to refusing to buy the music in the first place?

Vote with your wallet, because that's the only vote that counts. Just buy used CDs. There are tons of places to do it online, and plenty of stores that sell pre-owned CDs as well. The RIAA and company gets zero money from it, and they can't stop it unless they wipe out the first-sale doctrine for everything, not just music. I wonder how much those music executives would enjoy being told that they have no right to resell their Jaguar to a dealership when they want to get a down payment on that nifty new Porsche.

Re:DRM Free! (1)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197636)

itunes:

1. Find your song. (That's if they even have that artist/label!)
2. Purchase
3. Wait for download.
4. Burn to cd.
5. Re-rip to mp3 (quality loss, 2nd gen copy.)
6. Load onto non-ipod mp3 player

I hear that those bittorrent sites are very user friendly.

1. Just type the name of the artist, song, or album, and voila! You get a nice neat
2. download (directly into a neat folder, so winamp can find it automagically.)
3. load to mp3, complete with album art and a m3u file.

I don't think itunes is ever going to match that. Nor is napster, musicmatch or any other **AA sanctioned entity. There's no reason to abandon what works ^_^

It's like a Far Side Cartoon (5, Funny)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197308)

No matter what the customers say, all the music execs understand is one word ... "blah blah blah blah DRM blah blah"

Correction (5, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197600)

You spelled "MONEY" incorrectly

Re:Correction (2, Interesting)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197980)

Since when is this about money? This is about control. They could make plenty of money if they abandoned all DRM... for a while at least. Until all the new bands started going the indy route and refused to sign on with the big labels entirely.

Re:Correction (5, Insightful)

CelticWhisper (601755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198046)

So then what's the control all about? Yep, you guessed it: money. Money in the long run, money in the short run, it's still all about money in the end.

Re:Correction (1)

j987123 (885515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198000)

According to music execs, both spellings are valid.

Re:It's like an episode of 24 (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197646)

> "We're running out of time," Ted Cohen, managing director of music consulting firm TAG Strategic, told the roughly 200 attendees. "We need to get money flowing from consumers and get them used to paying for music again."

Cohen then proceeded to shackle his brother to a chair and ordered a subordinate to inject 8 units of pain serum, all the while screaming "WE DON'T WANT TO DO THIS. JUST TELL US WHERE THE MONEY IS."

Mod this up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197800)

I wish I could.

Math... duh...? (4, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197318)

From the article:
CD sales fell 23 percent worldwide between 2000 and 2006.
Last year saw a 131 percent jump in digital sales
overall the industry still saw about a 4 percent decline in revenue.

So CD sales... down... (a lot)
Digital music sales ... up (a lot)

Overall down... ( a little)

Blame Jobs!
Brilliant!

What color is the sky in their world?

Re:Math... duh...? (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197420)

No one knows what color the sky is, a giant pie with "DRM" inscribed on it blocks all from viewing.

Re:Math... duh...? (1)

Chikenistheman (992447) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197426)

Let us not forget how much CDs actually cost. Though minute, I'm sure sales would be down a little only until they start limiting prints of CDs.

Re:Math... duh...? (2, Insightful)

nsmike (920396) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197444)

What kind of math is that?

If CD sales dropped from 400,000 units to 200,000 units, I'd call that "a lot."

If digital sales went up from 100 songs per person to 300 songs per person, I'd call that "a lot."

However, these numbers aren't anywhere near relative. There's almost not even a grounds for comparison. It's a lot trickier to compare these sales than you would think.

Not that I'm defending the industry, almost all of their woes at the moment can be attributed to their own actions.

Re:Math... duh...? (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197460)

What color is the sky in their world?

Green.

Re:Math... duh...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197522)

4% less green than last year apparently.

Re:Math... duh...? (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197544)

What color is the sky in their world?

Green.


Fans of "Charlie Jade", I see.
(http://imdb.com/title/tt0408378/)
Does anybody know if they plan to make a season 2?

Re:Math... duh...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197568)

The sky in hell is red.

Re:Math... duh...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197988)

So CD sales... down... (a lot) Digital music sales ... up (a lot) Overall down... ( a little) Blame Jobs! Brilliant!

Exactly. Funny, CD sales are down because of "iTunes, pirates, rippers, etc"; isn't it possible that sales are down because they keep promoting more and more crap music from label manufactured "artists"? Or perhaps more folks just don't see the need to buy a transport medium when all they really want to buy is the data? Never mind that they're still making money from all those iTunes sales, that they probably would not hae recouped anyway. My wife buys tons of old stuff that she'd never buy on CD.

They want to be able to sell DRM'd music the the huge installed base of iPod users, tho how they'll compete with iTune prices, short of cutting them off, I'm not sure. IF Jobs were to open up iTunes DRM to liscense, he'd be killing his own product as I imagine labels would kludge thier own "iTunes_BMG", cut off Apple from their library and sell at 1.25 a song. Jobs may generate a substantial "reality distortion field" but no one ever said he was dumb. He has a brand that sells even with DRM (and a pretty liberal DRM at that).

Neat (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197330)

The music industry must be getting the shit kicked out of them in the court of public opinion. This is what - the 5th puff piece from them since Jobs bombed them? I've lost count actually.

Great day for corporate porn fans everywhere!

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197392)

I can only imagine what would happen to MY company if we threatened to sue our best customers and then crowed about how easy we made it for them to pay us [p2plawsuits.com] .

We'd be out of business in a week. I don't understand what makes the RIAA member companies feel so special.

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197718)

They're no longer called 'puff pieces.' They are hence forth known as 'ditty p's.'

Moo (4, Insightful)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197336)

So do the music execs *WANT* DRM, or do they *NOT* want it? They can't have it both ways. They should just be happy that people are buying music at all lately, what with the production-grade excrement coming out of most labels lately.

Re:Moo (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197428)

I don't think it's nearly that bad way. They want DRM, what they are objecting to is the closed DRM model that Apple has. If the time-to-fix supposedly in the iTunes contracts is the problem, then maybe they should allow it to be extended so that fixes to cracks.

Anyway, I'll repeat what I've said before, just support labels and bands that aren't in the RIAA. It's their legal right to protect their works and control how it is distributed, if we don't like it, we should support non-RIAA bands.

Re:Moo (1)

teh_chrizzle (963897) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197528)

So do the music execs *WANT* DRM, or do they *NOT* want it? They can't have it both ways.

they don't want it. what they want to do is get rid of downloadable music in general. they would also like us to SHUT THE HELL UP about getting rid of DRM. perhaps if they shift the blame around and wave their hands we will be placated enough to let this digital download nonsense subside and just go back to buying CDs.

just wait, soon there will be talk about how downloads are not sustainable and we have to get rid of the service once and for all.

Re:Moo (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197776)

What they want is unfettered control over all you see an hear. Right now they're steamed because Apple took a bit of control away from them and they want it back. Unfortunately iTunes is large enough that Apple can dictate terms to a certain extent and they have to go along with it because they're inherently greedy.

Re:Moo (1)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197814)

So do the music execs *WANT* DRM, or do they *NOT* want it?


Having (unwittingly) handed their crown jewels (control of the industry) to Apple (Music Exec - "OK, Apple, you can sell downloads, but it must have DRM" Apple - "Done! (Heh, you certainly have been)" ), what they want is their control back.

So, they *WANT* DRM, but they *DO NOT* want Apple in charge of it (or MS, or... well anyone except the RIAA, really).

The thing is, once artists start extricating themselves from the major labels' shackles, (so that the artists can get better deals with Apple / other download store), the labels will become increasingly less relevant.

Apple not at fault (5, Insightful)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197354)

Cohen told the audience that if Jobs was really sincere about doing away with DRM, he would soon release movies from Disney--the studio Jobs holds a major stake in--without any software protection. An Apple representative declined to comment on Tuesday on remarks made by the panel.

As I understand it, Apple is the technological source of this DRM in question, but not the muscle that pushes for its incorporation into the files. If Disney wants DRM on its digital downloadable movies as a provision for Apple to sell them, then it's Disney that is failing to "open up." If Apple refuses to put DRM on their products, then I'd guess they wouldn't have those products to sell.

Re:Apple not at fault (2, Insightful)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197728)

As I understand it, Apple is the technological source of this DRM in question, but not the muscle that pushes for its incorporation into the files. If Disney wants DRM on its digital downloadable movies as a provision for Apple to sell them, then it's Disney that is failing to "open up." If Apple refuses to put DRM on their products, then I'd guess they wouldn't have those products to sell.
If I could mod this up I would. I can't at the moment, though, so instead I'll confirm that this is a reason at least some of the time.

This is a very good point that I should have thought of myself. I'm a programmer at a company involved in distribution of various music and video content types. We don't really care if our product has DRM on it or not as every one of use knows full well that anyone with the will and half a brain can get at this content with no DRM (just talking business side of things here, not our personal feelings on it) but the various labels will not give us the rights to distribute the content without the DRM. So we slap the DRM on our content, sell it to those willing to pay for DRM'd content, and collect our shiny paychecks.

iTunes is not the problem, but the result. (5, Insightful)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197358)

iTunes is not the problem, but the insane rules that govern the content that is distributed through it. Recently Apple said that they would drop DRM if the industry allowed. NOW the industry is crying that the DRM that THEY mandated to be inplace are actually hurting sales!?!

Re:iTunes is not the problem, but the result. (5, Insightful)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197690)

Ohh, it's much worse than that.

Now iTunes/Apple is a monopoly - the music companies can only get their product distributed profitably through a single channel online. They're seeing the writing on the wall - and the choice is open up or get squeezed by the monopoly.

Hell, they can't even sell their OWN music on their on website because... it's not compatible with iPod!!! And even if they could - the marketplace is Apple iTunes, pure and simple. The purported 4 cent per-song "Apple tax" is so low, that they couldn't even compete fairly with their own distributor because the scale of operations would be money-loosing.

I don't think anybody saw this reaming coming...

So who wants it then? (5, Insightful)

bokmann (323771) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197380)

So the customers don't want it, the music execs don't want it, the vendors don't want it, and I don't think he musicians are clamoring for it either... Why do we have DRM again?

I say someone needs to call the bluff.

Re:So who wants it then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197468)

The RIAA/MPAA need to make money somehow.

Re:So who wants it then? (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197490)

The music execs want it. From the article:

The problem is the proprietary implementation of technology

Per the music industry, the problem isn't with the DRM itself, it is the fact that it is proprietary.

Re:So who wants it then? (2, Insightful)

femto (459605) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197910)

The problem isn't that it is "proprietary". The problem is that they don't own it.

Re:So who wants it then? (4, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197642)

So the customers don't want it, the music execs don't want it, the vendors don't want it, and I don't think he musicians are clamoring for it either... Why do we have DRM again?
Oh the music execs want it. What this is all about is that they've started to realise that, in doing the deal they did with Apple, they are effectively stuck with Apple's DRM. Being the control freaks that they are, this is not an attractive prospect for them, and what they really want is their DRM where they get to define the standard, the restrictions and how it works so that they can dictate DRM to the vendors rather than having the vendors in control. What they want is an "open" DRM under their control that they can force all the different vendors to use, thus unifying on-line music DRM under them.

Re:So who wants it then? (5, Insightful)

EasyT (749945) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197698)

If you pay attention to what the music execs are actually saying, they're not saying they don't want DRM, they're saying they want Jobs to open Apple's DRM up (make it accessable to other companies that sell DRM music or digital music players). Which they know Apple can't do, as Apple would be subjected to a much greater risk of the DRM being cracked in a way they couldn't quickly fix (which contractually could cost Apple access to their entire music library).

If the music execs were serious about wanting Apple to open up Apple's DRM, they could renegotiate to reduce Apple's risk. But since there appears to be no actual effort on that front, it sounds more like diversionary finger-pointing by the music labels.

Re:So who wants it then? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197724)

those that FUND CONGRESS seem to want it.

that is all that matters.

(sigh)

Re:So who wants it then? (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198030)

Congress doesn't mandate DRM, so no, that doesn't matter.

It's perfectly legal for me to make music and sell it to whomever I want without any DRM on it.

Oh, I see. IHBT.

Re:So who wants it then? (0, Flamebait)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197908)

Well, as for the indie artists and studios, the reason THEY have it is because our big hero, Steve Jobs, FORCES them to put DRM on their music before they can sell it on iTunes. Gotta protect that iTunes/iPod monopoly, you know!

-Eric

Am I right or am I wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197402)

I always thought that big labels DEMANDED DRM to sign digital distribution agreements.
Am I right or am I wrong?

Re:Am I right or am I wrong? (3, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197734)

Not only have the Labels demanded DRM their license agreements basically prevent the sharing of that DRM with others. As steve Jobs said in the same dissing DRM speach. Apple is responible for the DRM if it fails Apple has to upgrade it to fix it. If Apple suddenly licenses it out to a dozen different companies they can no longer insure the DRM will be updated properly across all systems in the timely fashion that the Labels demand.

Just look at all the problems MSFT has had with getting playsforsure to actually play for sure.

Don't foget the 'other' DRM (1)

agent420 (1046380) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197422)

Don't forget the music industries 'other' DRM (Dumb Retarded Music) when mentioning falling sales figures. I just read an AP piece that says Rap & Hiphop has fallen 21% because much of the music is percieved as 'too negative' (aka just plain sucks).

Yes, "open it up"... remove DRM barrier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197438)

Customers don't want DRM
Apple claims to not want DRM
Music execs want something open.

"Open-DRM"? like "Democratic-Dictatorship"?

Sales are down because of DRM.

open DRM versus no DRM (4, Insightful)

Talonator (594765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197448)

It seems like there are two dimensions to the 'DRM problem,' and that Apple and the music companies disagree on which of these needs to be changed:

In Jobs' letter (whenever that was) he called for DRM-free music, because he said an open DRM standard wouldn't work (it would be too easily reverse-engineered, since many entities would have access to the code, or whatever).

An open DRM standard is exactly what the music companies want, however, and that's the point of this story. The music companies don't want to give up their (ill-gotten) rights over the music they sell but they want to appear like they're doing something for the consumer, so they argue for open DRM and call Jobs insincere. Ahh, it makes me angry.

Re:open DRM versus no DRM (1)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197972)

Agreed - but beyond that the music co's want to dictate DRM so that they can dictate the market prices by having a "level distribution" model. They could care less about the consumer as long as they get their money.

Apple has an 80-percent market share for online music sales - that means they dictate the price, delivery methods, and the DRM. The fact is that the music co's couldn't even compete (and they've tried) with Apple - because the DRM locks them out of the primary delivery method - the iPod.

For Music companies to continue their long-term profit margins - they can either burn Apple, buy Apple, open up to non-DRM'ed music, or develop their own DRM. All options lead to massive profit loss in the short term - so everybody is just sharpening the axes for the moment.

Yeah, sure... (1)

freeweed (309734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197470)

If they could simply open it up, everybody would love them.

Everybody but the customer.

WTF? You dont need an iPod to buy music!!! (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197478)

They made Apple use DRM. And what about the dozen or so companies using various forms of MS DRM???? IF anything their incompatibility is hindering sales. At least with Apples DRM you can use it on most WIN and OS X .

DRM = near-monopoly for Apple (4, Insightful)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197506)

Let's see, if I were Jobs and I had a near-monopoly on sales of digital music, would I give it away?

DRM is a financial fact of life, just like circumventing it is a technical fact of life. The only thing that will kill the DRM-monster is the sword of falling profits, and it looks like that is lost for the moment. No ammount of wishful thinking about open source DRM or Apple giving up its strangle hold will change this story.

Money. It is ALWAYS about money.

Well (1)

UPZ (947916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197512)

Looks like music industry is jealous that Apple is making money off DRM.....instead of them To summarize: greed..

Grandfathering purchases? (3, Insightful)

Valdez (125966) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197514)

Has anyone wondered whats going to happen to all the DRM-encumbered music you've already bought if they suddenly go DRM-less?

Are you going to have to buy it all over again? Will they give you new copies of what you purchased? Will all the new DRM-free players also be able to handle any media with any outmoded DRM to allow backwards compatibility of things I've already bought?

Has anyone thought that perhaps the 180 degree change of opinion from Apple's side might find you paying twice for your "Best of The Rolling Stones" album?

Re:Grandfathering purchases? (1)

epochblue (790452) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197808)

I doubt it, as that would be a PR disaster.

As I understand it, the FairPlay DRM is applied to the music after the music is downloaded. Since Apple "holds the keys to castle" (as it were), if the RIAA were to all of a sudden say "Okay, you win, no more DRM," Apple could simply release a program that would remove the DRM from your downloaded tracks. Hell, while it was still being worked on JHymn did that exact thing...

Am I wrong about this? I know the DRM was at one point applied after the fact, is that still true?

Re:Grandfathering purchases? (1)

zhiwenchong (155773) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197822)

I'd imagine it'd be possible for Apple or other music stores to release a tool to remove the DRM, maybe a sort of an officially sanctioned version of hymn.
http://hymn-project.org/ [hymn-project.org]

Why are they complaining? (4, Insightful)

sehlat (180760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197516)

The music executives demanded that every bit of music that comes out be "protected" with ConsumerRightsArentPermitted, and got, at least with Apple iTunes, exactly what they asked for.

So now they are reaping the consequences of their own shortsighted greed and contempt for their customers and they blame the messenger?

The old music execs failed to adapt. Their loss (1, Offtopic)

OgTheBarbarian (778232) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197518)

I've been using ITMS and iTunes & I'm on my third iPod. I can't say I've ever felt restricted in my ability to move the content I bought between devices, back it up etc. I'm about to try my first bulk move from one machine to another, so we'll see how that goes. When I have had a download issue, I have never been unduly hassled about crediting the money spent so I could restart the download. In short Apple seems to act in good faith. I think the real issue is sour grapes frm the established industry. Apple made a runaway success by providing an easy to manage device, store and end user application. As to DRM being eliminated. I don't think so. There's too many ignorant people out there that seem to think other people's creativity and hard work should be theirs for the taking. They're wrong.

iPod is open for others! (5, Insightful)

fluch (126140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197550)

What is the porblem?!? I don't get it, the iPods are open for others. They happily support MP3's. Or don't they?! You just need to sell MP3's and the customer can play them. Ah, you do not want to sell MP3's?! Not my porblem, I am happy with it... :-)

Re:iPod is open for others! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197804)

I'm glad some people are thinking for themselves. Is the society in general so dumb they don't think they can import into ITunes? I have over 3000 songs on my IPod and not a single one came from their online store. MP3 does it for me.

If Apple is the problem... (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197572)

...then the industry should revoke, or not renew the license it gave apple, and sign a deal with someone who meets their requirements.

If they're getting hurt so bad by Apple's structure, it's their responsibility to stop dealing with Apple. End of story.

let's blame everyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197574)

The music companies will blame whoever they have to, "Apple's DRM is hurting sales!" or "Our customers are stealing!!" they will never blame themselves for releasing an inferior product (shitty music) that tanks in sales.

Apple screwing over the music industry? (1)

lordvalrole (886029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197588)

Well, I say music execs are screwing over the world industry. hope they all burn in hell...if there is one.

I can agree with that (0, Flamebait)

L4m3rthanyou (1015323) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197640)

I don't necessarily agree with the motives of the music execs, but they have a point. Jobs' essay was a load of bull. Has Apple EVER strived for openness or interoperability? hell no. In fact, they go out of their way to make their products incompatible with competitors.

They only allow windows on their systems because it allows them to shove their hardware down more throats. They have nothing to gain by opening their DRM. Apple will hold their current position with itunes until the music industry finds a way to force them to change... and when that happens Apple will still get the credit for it.

Now watch as I get modded down by a bunch of ifanboys who want to have manbabies with Steve Jobs...

Re:I can agree with that (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197886)

Has Apple EVER strived for openness or interoperability? hell no. In fact, they go out of their way to make their products incompatible with competitors.

If there's any load of bull here, it's your post. For years Macs have been able to read and write DOS/Windows-formatted floppies, Zip disks and hard drives (read and write FAT32 partitions, read NTFS partitions). Out of the box. They probably still can read Windows-formatted Zips and floppies, if you hook up the appropriate drive. Out of the box, with no special utilities. Mac servers can serve files to Windows clients and even act as a domain controller.

Name another music store that sells DRM'd files that work on both Macs and Windows. Oh, there ISN'T ONE.

Microsoft is, and always has been, much more about lock-in than Apple-- that's why they screwed their PlaysForSure partners and put out the Zune, which along with its music store is a direct copy of the iPod and iTunes way of doing things. Apple embraces-- Microsoft embraces, extends and extinguishes, remember? Like how they tried to ruin the multiplatform nature of Java by creating Windows-specific extensions? Like how they attempted to make the web Microsoft-only with ActiveX?

I could go on, but it wouldn't be as satisfying as meeting you in person and delivering a firm bitch-slap.

Captain subtext translates (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197682)

Music Industry: We want DRM.
Steve Jobs: You got it. Hey, it only works with iPods as well. Isn't product tying great!
Music Industry: Can we have more control over our product?
Steve Jobs: Nope.
Music Industry: Oh. Uhm... We'll leave
Steve Jobs: No you won't.
Music Industry: Oh. Ummm can you open up Fairplay. This will mean there's some competition and we can afford to ditch you.
Steve Jobs:: Nope. Why would I ever do that?
Music Industry: We'll make you look like the bad guy.
Steve Jobs: You can try. I made downloadable music viable, produce the gadget all the cool kids want and I don't sue children and old ladies. Not only that, but I can plausibly blame all your troubles on you.

Nice. (2, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197976)

It was modded up three points, in the time it took me to comment. Thats a fairly accurate portrayal of whats actually going on. Don't believe the crap around here that "open drm" isn't possible. Thats exactly what MS has done, and exactly what the labels want out of apple.

It *is* possible, but Apple is either trying to maintain it supremacy, or is actually trying to wrest control of music distribution away from the labels. The latter seems a bit too idealistic for me, but its a consequence of them following the former.

I think we'll end up with more expensive, but drm free music from the major labels. Unfortunately, no company is in a similar situation to do the same with the movie studios, and given the close relationship between apple and Disney I don't see that happening for a long long time.

Strategic (4, Interesting)

creysoft (856713) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197732)

Apple, in it's traditionally clever way, has turned the tables on the music industry. The music industry, in initial negotiations, simply stated that they wanted "DRM." Apple designed and built a form of DRM that (A) minimally inconveniences their customers, (B) complies with the letter of the agreement, and most importantly, (C) uses the DRM to lock iTunes to its player, thereby profiting from the arrangement and effectively killing any other competitors. (Even MS can't break into the market.) As Apple has the only digital music store anybody would want to use, they use their considerable muscle to bully the music industry into doing what they want.

This is NOT what the music industry wanted. When they say "DRM," they mean DRM that protects *them,* not resellers. So now they're crying for Apple to "open" their DRM. They still want DRM, just DRM that doesn't give Apple the above benefits, the goal being to effectively give their competitors a chance to flourish. If this happens, the music industry will regain the upper hand in negotiations, and start forcing Apple to do its bidding. This will, of course, result in higher prices and poorer service.

The music industry is betting the public won't understand the difference between "opening" DRM, and doing away with it. The former helps nobody but the music industry. If they succeed in convincing consumers that the industry is opposed to DRM, and mean old Apple is forcing it on them, they'll be able to turn public opinion against Apple and get their demands met. This has nothing to do with helping the consumer, and everything to do with the music industry trying to wrestle its way out of Apple's iron grip on its throat.

We'll see how this turns out.

Wow (1, Flamebait)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197778)

Seldom have I seen so disingenuous statements. If the music industry wants to end Apple's alleged "stranglehold," they can do it tomorrow by licensing their catalogs without DRM. The industry brought Apple's domination through its initial demand that DRM be mandatory, and now they're unhappy because they succeeded in that endeavor.

Watching the music industry squirm is like watching FOX news -- war is peace, freedom is slavery.

Customers have spoken (3, Insightful)

cyber-dragon.net (899244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197812)

Look at the numbers in the article... online sales more than double but overall is down 4%. What should this be telling them? People WILL purchase music online, they are willing to pay and not pirate.

What else will it tell the **AA? It says people are fed up with thier practices and are starting to vote with their wallet. Revenue goes down they cannot possibly be at fault so it must be Steve Jobs. He did it! We did not make any bad decitions we are doing what our customers want and protecting our artists.

Well... the reality is Jobs is selling the music because he is comming closer than anyone to what customers ACTUALLY want. Online sales more than doubled and who caused that? Also of note is that they never said CD sales are down... only that revenue is down. Expenses such as suing so many people might drain revenue no?

Is this the beginning of the end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197816)

The music industry has spent the last few years pursuing its 'enemies'. Things continued to slide. Now, like any population fighting over a diminishing resource, they are turning on each other.

Soon the companies that make up the music industry will start dying, like any other starving population. Perhaps in the end there will be enough of a market left to support some of the present players, perhaps not? In their ashes will rise a new set up music companies, ones that serve their customers and give the musicians a fair deal.

They are scared to see DRM go (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197826)

The music industries realize that Apple's grip over the DRM distribution used for mose music is also the key to its elimination.

If Apple holds control over popular use of DRM, then it is inevitable music companies will have to offer DRM free music - because it's the only way to get the pricing control they really want. They don't want to be without DRM, which is why the demand Jobs give it up... it's like they built a giant castle, and just as it was done Jobs snuck in and raised the drawbridge. Now he's threatening to set a match to the powderkegs inside and destroy the whole castle. They don't want the general population to be able to enjoy the castle, they want it back for themselves.

alternate title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18197850)

I Says Crap Music and Overpriced CD's Hurting Industry

Open DRM is good for consumers... (3, Funny)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197952)

Then you need just one hack, and you can have all your music be DRM-free everywhere! No more multiple-different-hacks for different DRM's.

Apple is doing the consumers a service! (1)

phyrebyrd (631520) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197954)

Think about this...

Apple is actually doing the CONSUMERS a service here by keeping their own DRM locked up tight as a drum. They have the attention of the labels and all the "bad guys" in the game because they simply REFUSE to open their DRM to them. (Horrah Apple!)

What does this accomplish? First, it causes heartburn for the bad guys. I mean, after all... What better way to piss someone off than to say "You can't have it"? If the labels can't have access to it, they can't change it on a whim whenever they feel like it (as they do with everything else if someone breaks their scheme).

Second, it gives us, the consumers, the real voice. By not opening up the DRM and saying to the labels "It's either all or nothing, and you aren't going to control how we do it", they're effectively standing up for us. While it's true that DRM hurts us as consumers, it hurts the labels more by not giving them the control they so much desire. So, in this way, Apple is exerting their leverage in saying "We don't want it, but since you do, you'll have to deal with it on OUR terms, not yours."

So, this just pisses them off. Perhaps Apple thinks by doing so, the labels will grow tired of it and finally wake up to the fact their brick and mortar buildings are burning to the ground around them with their asses planted firmly in the napalm waiting for that spark to blow the whole thing wide open for us... Who knows? Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't.

Although, I think it's going to take more than Apple to crack that shiny titanium ass the labels have. It's going to take ALL of us standing up as one and saying "We're not taking it anymore." We're going to have to REALLY hurt them. The only way we can do that is to not buy ANYTHING they have to offer at all.

Somehow, I just can't see that unition happening... We have the power, we have the control. But we have no concerted effort to put this to an end for ourselves.

I, for one, haven't bought a single CD (or song) for a number of years. At one point, I did buy CD's... Until I got one that was copy protected. Not one CD or song since that day.

We need more people to do just that.

I Laughed My Ass Off After Reading This (4, Interesting)

canfirman (697952) | more than 7 years ago | (#18197986)

"C-Net says last year saw a 131 percent jump in digital sales, but overall the industry still saw about a 4 percent decline in revenue. Some executives at this week's Digital Music Forum East conference lashed out at Jobs, blaming Apple and its CEO for their troubles.

Man, I laughed my ass off when I read this one. So, there's a 4 percent decline in overall revenue. The only reason they could find is Steve Jobs? Of course, it wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that their products suck, would it? No, they would never look at themselves and wonder why sales are down. I guess their latest "pop tarts" aren't bringing in the money they were a long time ago. Oh, and I'm sure the lawsuits aren't affecting the revenue line. Nah - it's got to be Steve Jobs, isn't it?

Please. How lame can you get?

YUO FAIL IT! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18198042)

th3 project to
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