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Steve Jobs' Thoughts On Music

Feb 8 2007 - 7:01am

Apple CEO Steve Jobs released a statement containing his "Thoughts on Music" yesterday, which brought up some interesting questions about where we are headed in terms of downloads and the future of music sharing. As you know, iTunes currently allows users to play their DRM protected music on up to 5 computers and on an unlimited number of iPods. This is a big deal in terms of music rights. The problem - and these are Jobs' words exactly [1] - is that there are many smart people in the world, some with a lot of time on their hands, who love to discover such secrets and publish a way for everyone to get free (and stolen) music.

"They are often successful in doing just that, so any company trying to protect content using a DRM must frequently update it with new and harder to discover secrets. It is a cat-and-mouse game." Downloading music legally, particularly for free [2] is an ongoing topic, and we all know iTunes is the leader in terms of sales, but shockingly 97% of the music on the average iPod was not purchased from the iTunes store - meaning iPod users are not all using the iTunes store. What does Jobs see in the future?

Jobs says: [3]

"Apple’s DRM system is called FairPlay. While we have had a few breaches in FairPlay, we have been able to successfully repair them through updating the iTunes store software, the iTunes jukebox software and software in the iPods themselves. So far we have met our commitments to the music companies to protect their music, and we have given users the most liberal usage rights available in the industry for legally downloaded music.

Jobs' Three Alternatives for the Future

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