I’ll keep this brief, as you’re a busy man.
You recently wrote that you would drop DRM from the iTunes music store “in a heartbeat” if you could.
Well, as you’ll see if you check the iTunes purchase logs, I bought quite a few tunes from the iTunes music store. You’ll notice that I stopped as soon as you fixed the flaw that allowed Hymn to remove the DRM. Since then I’ve bought music from places like bleep.com that sell DRM-free music. I still use the iTunes music store, but only as an easy way to preview tracks that I then buy elsewhere.
Clearly, there are plenty of music labels (such as most indie labels) that are willing to license their music DRM-free. Clearly there are people like me who won’t buy music if it has DRM they can’t remove. So, here’s a proposal:
Allow record companies and artists who elect to do so, to sell their music DRM-free on the iTunes music store. Indicate the DRM status with a small icon in the download views in iTunes, like you indicate explicit lyrics. I’ve put together a quick mock-up. As you can see, the padlock icon is very discreet and unobjectionable. I don’t think it would cause user confusion; the people who don’t care about DRM will probably never notice it.
Once you’ve offered DRM-free music on the iTunes store, you just sit back and watch. If I’m right, the non-DRM music sales will surge. Then you’ll have some real ammo with which to approach the major labels. Because frankly, they don’t listen to consumers like me. I know, because this year I wrote to EMI listing a bunch of CDs I didn’t buy because they had DRM warnings on the packaging. I didn’t even get a reply.