Tuesday, September 19, 2006

iTunes Will Flourish In A Non-DRM Market

I just read an article extolling the virtues of Yahoo's encouragement of the major record labels to offer non-DRM, pure-MP3 music downloads. It seems they got a deal a while back to sell a non-DRM Jessica Simpson song. And, now, they've gotten a deal with Warner to offer a non-DRM album (Jesse McCartney's Right Where You Want Me. Good for Yahoo, and, smart of Warner. My problem came when I read the writer's ideas about how a mass move to non-DRM music downloads would spell "the end of Apple's monopoly" on legal music downloads. Right.

Apple Sells Convenience And Selection

The wide spread FUD that iTunes has some sort of hypnotically induced irrational hold over its customers just drives me crazy. I wish the whole world could take a basic business class, and develop the sensibility to simply see that Apple has succeeded with iTunes because they have done a great job relieving customers of hassle, and offering them easy to use selection and functionality. No voodoo dolls or magic potions involved. Apple has just consistently done a great of pleasing its customers.

Should the record companies wake up one day soon, have a fit of rationality, and realize that a completely DRM-free MP3 based download marketplace would auger the beginning of a new era in legal download growth, Apple would gleefully shift its library away from the Fairplay restriction it now implements at the behest of these same record labels. And, with the present file movement and usage restrictions then gone, iTunes would continue to lead the marketplace.

iTunes does not get new customers by "locking them in" to some "proprietary" file usage scheme, as so many anti-Apple writers pen each day. In the absence of DRM, iTunes will still be the most convenient, easiest to use, and most popular download store. That's my opinion. What's yours?


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