I have been reading Jobs' letter for almost one hour, trying to understand what exactly is he trying to point out. Why is he advocating for the artist and the consumers and why it had to be Apple the first to open the debate in an International level.
Most of the people who blog or read blog are familiar with podcast and Adam Curry. You may remember that at certain point in 2005 (around my birthday if I remember well) Adam went 100% podsafe. By doing this he "pulled" the whole community to embrace this concept and only play music that has been explicitly licensed to be played in a podcast or with no distribution limits.
A few months ago the Podsafe Music Network started to allow Artists to sell their songs in clean MP3 files (no DRM protection). Ultimately this is the idea in Jobs' mind and it already exists. But I think that the problem he is pointing out is clearly how the "Big Four" see the Digital Market.
Last year, Doug Morris called all iPod owners thieves (be sure to also read the Billboard Article). The only real reaction I witnessed was from Mark Yoshimoto Nemkof. And even worst, I have so many legally bought CD in my room that I have to put them on the floor or just put the CD Boxes in the trash and stock my CDs in cases and I didn't see any kind of apology from this "very important CEO" that called one of the most important sources of revenue of UMG thieves.
Today Jobs is making a call to bring back things to the table. He has a special way to point things out (many even fear this ability - cf. RDF) and I think he has stressed what it had to be stressed. Some months ago the French Parliament was trying to pass a law to force all online music stores to ensure the interoperability of all the music bought from those stores. For the public it was very clear that they were aiming the iTMS. The strange thing is that the whole debate seems to be over or forgotten... not a single journalist is writing anymore on the subject nor the French government is trying to pass the law. What happened there? The only thing I can guess is that Apple answered in the same way Jobs closes his letter.
I invite you to read Steve Jobs' "Thoughts On Music" and make your own opinion on the subject, because I think that we are all more or less involved.
After all it is you and me who are buying Music, Computers and iPods.
"Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries. Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free. For Europeans, two and a half of the big four music companies are located right in their backyard. The largest, Universal, is 100% owned by Vivendi, a French company. EMI is a British company, and Sony BMG is 50% owned by Bertelsmann, a German company. Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly."
Thoughts On Music
February 6, 2007