Something occurred to me last night about Apple’s new music service. The killer advantage here for Apple is that their DRM locks Mac users into the Mac platform for the long term. Maybe this will change, but right now you can only play the tracks purchased through Apple’s music service on a Mac. Once you’ve bought an iPod’s worth of music, you have several gigs of reasons why switching from your Mac to a PC would be a really, really bad idea. I guess you could go to the trouble of ripping all your songs onto CD and then ripping them back onto your PC as MP3s, but that brings about a loss of quality and is a huge pain to boot. Maybe I’m way off here and soon there will be a PC app that will Apple’s audio files, but in the meantime, this looks like a particularly fiendish way to make sure that people who switch stay switched.
Update: a number of people have written to tell me that Apple is hiring people to work on a Windows version of iTunes. That nixes my theory that the record companies only acquiesced to this plan because it was for the Mac only and thus constrained the market size. Of course, maybe the record companies won’t sign on to the Windows version until they see how the Mac market shapes up. Who knows?