My iPod goes wherever I do.
I've determined I can leave my phone, wallet, cash, and sense of self at home; as long as I've got that shiny black gadget, I'm good to go. But now, people like me are starting to become more and more frustrated with the incompatibility of purchased music with a wider range of portable music devices.
I have a friend who has an MP3 player that happens to be manufactured by a company other than Apple. (Yes, they do exist. I saw it once, but it was just a quick glance.) Anyways, Apple's iTunes Music Store has been one of the most lucrative ventures in the electronic media world in years. But in order to license the music for purchase on the store, Apple had to agree to encode the music with a DRM (Digital Rights Management) software, so only the person who bought the music can play it. Unfortunately, while this works on paper -- those who wish to use the music on a portable device cannot do so without a lengthy and inconvenient (and illegal) process.
Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, Inc., released an open letter to the music industry today (Feb. 6). I have to agree with a majority of the points Jobs made. A quick summation -- Jobs outlines three potential outcomes of the struggle:
1. Stay as it is. Each online store using different, and incompatible, DRM
schemes to sync with different devices.
2. Apple licenses FairPlay to others (this probably isn't going to happen).
3. The music industry agrees to license their music to online stores without DRM.
I say: open it up, music industry.