I shouldn’t be surprised, but damned if I didn’t manage to polarize an audience today with my little Apple and EMI ditching DRM is good, but it’s not good enough editorial. I managed to hit the ever-oversensitive nerve of Mac fanboys at the same time as rubbing fellow anti-DRM consumers alike — a rare case. Not that I’d expect any of those who swore off Engadget today to ever read this here personal blog, but it seems to me like the point was lost reading the editorial in a way it wasn’t written. To summarize:

  • The news is good, good, good, good, good. This is seriously great news, and I can’t even say how glad I am to hear that EMI is offering music DRM-free.
  • EMI went to Apple first, since Jobs was likely to be a receptive audience after Apple’s European troubles and his editorial on DRM. No surprise there.
  • Apple was all too happy to come up with a solution to distribute the music free of DRM. Jobs personally endorsed this by presenting at EMI’s media event. They intend to make the majority of music on iTunes DRM free. That’s awesome.
  • So why, then, are smaller labels that also distribute on, say, eMusic still not allowed to sell music DRM-free? They’ve wanted this for years. Indies have to take a back seat to majors when it comes to choice of selling with or without DRM?
  • And if DRM is such a caustic user experience, why doesn’t Jobs fight to sell Disney-owned music DRM-free? And for that matter, Disney-owned TV shows and movies?
  • And if it’s about the best user experience possible, why not sell in MP3, which plays in all devices? And why not sell in lower bitrates for people who want to extend battery life and space?

Look, I’m not saying this isn’t a good thing. It’s a great thing. But these companies — Apple especially — have an agenda, and are wrapping a very good intention with a lot of BS that people should be skeptical about. I’m not discouraging this move, I’m discouraging the say-one-thing-do-another actions of the players behind it.

Disclaimers: I sometimes use iTunes to buy media. I have and use a Mac as my primary laptop. I listen to music on EMI, and like it. I (obviously) loathe DRM. That add any context?