A report originally published by French technology site ElectronLibre says that Apple will spark new interest in its music store by removing DRM from tracks published by Sony, Universal and Warner on December 9th – which is today.
The site doesn't point to specific sources but is careful to note that Apple is moving cautiously on the matter following difficult negotiations that allegedly had the labels hoping to negotiate what EMI had done for the launch of iTunes Plus in 2007, when it successfully negotiated prices higher before ultimately agreeing to reduce the price to Apple's standard 99 cents.
Last month CNet News.com noted that Apple was in preliminary talks with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony BMG about acquiring DRM-free songs, according to two music industry sources. No word yet from Apple, but all eyes are on the Cupertino today to see if it pans out.
In February 2007 an unusually candid Steve Jobs discussed three different alternatives for the future of DRM in an open letter, titled "Thoughts on Music:"
- Continue on the current course,
- License its FairPlay DRM technology, or
- Abolish DRMs entirely
It appears from today's news that Apple is leaning toward option three.
Where do you stand on the DRM issue? Necessary evil or devil incarnate?