4/3/08
7:07 am

iTunes is Number 1, Now What?

Reports say that Apple has data saying the iTunes music store is now the top retailer in the U.S. So, where do they do from here?
Well, the answer is obvious: they need to use their top position to get rid of DRM.
Steve Jobs has commented before that he doesn’t like DRM. iTunes introduced DRM-free music more than a year ago, but for only a small portion of its content, and at a higher price. Meanwhile, Amazon, the number 4 music retailer, has only DRM-free music downloads, and cheaper than iTunes’ crippled music.
At this point, Apple should set a deadline for the music labels. They should announce that they will only sell DRM-free music starting on Jan. 1, 2009. Maybe they should even join with the other online retailers in solidarity. Amazon is already there, so they should sign up right away.
Now Apple has another reason to want DRM, besides bowing to the desires of the music labels. DRM has enabled Apple to have iTunes-downloaded music only work on the iPod. So once you start downloading from iTunes, you are locked into using iPods.
But the iPod has clearly won the MP3-player wars. Time to move on. THe future of the iPod is the iPhone and iPod Touch anyway, which will continue to win the war based on features and interface, not DRM tricks.