Apple CEO Steve Jobs is getting exactly what he asked for nearly a year ago: Industry movement away from DRM music. But the DRM freedom he wanted is looking more like DRM freedom from Apple. There has been a whole lot of shakin' going on the last two weeks with respect to DRM-free content: Warner made its library available to Amazon, as unprotected MP3s. Sony BMG announced plans to release its catalog DRM free. In second quarter, Napster will go back to its MP3 roots, with a library available in the unprotected format
While the DRM-free moves may be good for consumers, many labels' have another motivation: DRM freedom from Apple. The iTunes Music store is the biggest seller of DRM music, which should be good for labels wanting to curb piracy. But as iTunes/iPod dominance has increased, labels have found themselves in an increasing Apple choke hold.