Digital Music

Why Hasn’t Apple’s iTunes Gone DRM Free?

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Months after Amazon, Rhapsody, Napster and a dozen other download stores have gone 100% DRM free, Apples iTunes still sells most of its tracks with its own proprietary DRM attached. Why?  There are three possible reasons:

  1. Antiapple
    THEY CAN’T
    –  Some labels hate Steve Jobs so much that they want to give competitors the DRM free edge.
  2. THEY DON’T HAVE TO – Sales at iTunes continue to grow.  Why make the switch?
  3. THEY DO WANT TO –  Jobs wants to control to keep the Apple iPod iPhone iTunes ecosystem as closed as possible as long as possible. After all, it helps sell stuff.

Whatever the reason, it would seem that Apple is doing a disservice to its customers even though rising sales would suggest that their customers are satisfied. Why do you think iTunes has not gone DRM-free?  Vote, leave your comments and please Digg and share it.

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7 Comments

  1. When I blogged about this at my place, I think it’s mostly that they don’t want to and don’t have to. I really think if they wanted, they could strong arm more labels into going DRM free, especially since they’re doing it everywhere else. But they’re still #1, so why bother?

  2. Until Amazon flexes it muscle (they’re the only viable long-term competitor in my opinion), iTunes can keep truckin’ along. They are the dominant force in the digital download marketplace with over a 75% market share.
    I don’t think they will have to worry about subscription services like Rhapsody because those companies have a certain ceiling to their growth. We’ll have to wait as Amazon will continue to grow stronger over the next few years, and more and more services align themselves and more people take note of the benefits (DRM-free, bit rate, etc)

  3. I think it’s got a lot to do with where Apple makes money. It’s from the hardware- not the music. Sure the music is an excellent bonus, but until we get MP3 players that are as universally loved as iPods I don’t see them needing to change their format.

  4. I think it’s got a lot to do with where Apple makes money. It’s from the hardware- not the music. Sure the music is an excellent bonus, but until we get MP3 players that are as universally loved as iPods I don’t see them needing to change their format.

  5. This has been kicked back and forth so much. Why can’t a reporter simply ask major label reps or Apple whether non-DRM rights have been offered?
    If Apple was not offered the rights I would think they would want consumers to know. And if the labels have offered and Apple has declined, I don’t see any reason why the labels would want to keep that a secret.

  6. I think its a combination of Apple not having to and not wanting to go DRM-free. Yeah, their chokehold on the music industry is slowly lossening, but they still have “hand” in the situation. Their advantage isn’t going away anytime soon. And as long as Apple keeps releasing products, their closed system works best for them. That way, they guarantee their vendors/business partners an audience.

  7. iTunes offers DRM-Free music, it’s called iTunes Plus. Granted it’s not the whole catalog but to say iTunes doesn’t offer DRM-Free music is not telling the whole story and the answer may lie in the fact the one label is willing to sell their music DRM-Free on iTunes and the others aren’t. Check out Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” on iTunes, it’s DRM-Free!!! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it……

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