Streaming Music Service Lock-in

The ongoing lack an Apple streaming music service would undoubtedly (and rightfully) draw criticisms about iTunes’ growing irrelevance in today’s increasingly stream-heavy music landscape. Now that Apple is supposedly on the cusp of announcing a streaming music service, we instead get this gem of a headline from The Verge.

Apple Music and the terrible return of DRM

Damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

From Nilay Patel:

But next week Apple is probably going to launch another streaming service, and if history is any guide, it’s only going to work with Apple products. That means I’ll have yet a fourth music service in my life (Spotify, Google Play Music, Prime, and Apple Music) and a fourth set of content exclusives and pricing windows to think about instead of just listening to music.

I agree that streaming music services and their related DRM threaten interoperability and choice, but that has always been the trade-off, regulated access to a greater catalog at little-to-no cost. Consumers can still choose to pay more and own DRM-free music via any number of options including iTunes. Nilay’s article does do a good job bringing awareness to these trade-offs, but its headline feels like another piece of Apple FUD to generate clicks for The Verge.