Steve Jobs dropped a big one on us today, and no it wasn't a new MacBook. Instead it was his anti-DRM Manifesto, a state of the union for the music industry so to speak. In a nutshell, he advised the music industry to give up on DRM. It won't work. There are smart people circumventing this stuff, and with all the CDs being ripped in the world, just give up on it.
Amazing to hear the man speak without the PR mouthpiece, without regards to anything but what he feels is right for the world. He even throws the iPod/iTunes monopoly to the wind with these notions.
Backing up a bit, he explained that music companies may feel protected by their DRM, but DRM hasn't worked in the past and it won't work in the future. His solution: we got three choices. We can either continue on the path we're on now, license out FairPlay, or destroy DRM once and for all.
Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat.
So how do we do that? Well, Jobs proposes that we "redirect our energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free." In other words, that means raising hell at Universal, EMI, Sony BMG, and Warner. An excellent point, but it takes a giant to bring another giant down. In other words, someone has to deliver the first lightning bolt, Apple.
Thoughts on Music [Apple]