Steve Jobs thinks DRM is pointless

Wow… here’s something I thought I’d never see.

Steve Jobs posted on the official Apple blog, errr, Apple’s press release area a letter entitled “Thoughts on Music.”

Basically, Steve boils it down to 3 possible futures.

1. Stay the course with DRM.
This doesn’t really work for the music companies as they still sell most of their music on unprotected CDs. DRM really only hinders the sale of music on iTunes and other players as folks don’t like being locked in.

2. Apple licenses Fairplay
This doesn’t work for the music companies because ultimately when more companies have access to the DRM, DRM becomes less effective.

3. DRM goes away.
I’m still shocked about this one. You can buy music from anyone and play it on any device. Ultimately, Apple still has the advantage here as they sell the number one player.

So, the big question is why did Steve post this?

Here are some possibilities:

  • European bans on DRM will affect Apple’s business.
  • A free market for music would help, not hinder Apple’s music business. Apple doesn’t have 100% player market share, so in theory, they could sell more music. Apple could, in theory, sell more iPods.
  • iPod battery life would increase. DRM sucks batteries dead because of the additional horsepower required.
  • DRM is a bad user experience and Steve knows it.

Ultimately, I hope this has some affect on the state of DRM and isn’t just a power play to garner consumer sympathy for Apple’s dilemma.

[via TUAW]