October 3rd, 2006  |  Published in etc

DRM May Mean Strange Anti-Apple Bedfellows:

The music industry and the FSF could actually agree. On July 19, Sony BMG and Yahoo offered a new Jessica Simpson single for $1.99 without DRM restrictions. Instead of DRM, the song was personalized with the buyer’s name. Yahoo has been an outspoken critic of DRM. The big takeaway: The music industry is open to experimentation. Why? There are other business models to explore and the industry can’t let Apple dominate.

What’s kind of weird about this piece is the assumption that Apple’s just desperate to keep DRM. My understanding of the iTMS setup is that Apple doesn’t receive a very big cut of sales. Those sales constitute about a third of what they make from iPod sales, and that’s with them lumping accessories in to the $457 million they made on “music-related products and services” FY3Q06. Their iPod revenue, on the other hand, was almost $1.5 billion.

Someone could probably correct me on this, but my read on Apple’s DRM has always been that the recording industry has been the most insistent on the restrictions implemented thus far, and Apple’s gone along because that was what it would take to get its 35 cent skim on each sale. The only thing that could makes DRM key to the recipe is the recording industry’s insistence on it … not Apple’s belief that it’s important or needed. Apple’s more interested in selling the hardware, as usual.

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