The final major label committing to dump DRM comes almost 11 months to the day after Steve Jobs fired a missive on Apple's website calling for all music labels, especially the 'big four' to dump DRM:
The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.
DRM was likely already headed the way of the Dodo, but Jobs' plea certainly accelerated the process. One can only hope that this move will also be another domino falling toward the end of the RIAA, which becomes even less meaningful in a DRM-free music world.
At any rate, this is a red-letter day for music fans, and whether they realize it or not, the industry itself. As Terry McBride, Nettwerk CEO stated when I interviewed him last year, the key to the future of the music industry is to "put the music where the music fan spends their time and allow them to consume it how they want."
Hat-tip to Eric Rice for tweeting about this story.
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