DRM is a stupid idea

While Bill Gates is busy making a total fool of himself, Steve Jobs has been thinking about music and DRM. In a (quite unusual) post on Apple.com, named “Thoughts on music“, he shares his thoughts on DRM and the music industry.

Like the fact that 90% of all music sold is infact without DRM. It’s called CDs.

And that there are three options for Apple when it comes to DRM: Continue as today (with DRM in iTunes), license FairPlay (not an option, says Jobs) or third: Get rid of the whole DRM thing:

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. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy.

Impressive. It will be very interesting to see if any music industry leaders react to this. Do they even put their thoughts online like this? Also interesting to see Steve Jobs doing it. It has been a rather strict Apple policy to not “blog”.

Note to Eirik: Steve is on your side. 😉

Update: Gruber

And as always, John Gruber has an excellent analysis:

In other words, the music industry wants a magical DRM format that gives them — not Apple, not Microsoft — complete control over all digital music. And a unicorn and a rainbow.