Conflicting reports are circulating about the music industry's opinions about copy-protection and Digital Rights Management (DRM).

After Steve Jobs posted his letter about the industry, saying that music companies should stop mandating that their digital tracks be protected by DRM, a number of reports suggested that the music industry dismissed the idea of allowing DRM-free MP3 files to be sold.

However, a survey conducted in December and January, before Jobs' letter was posted, suggests that the music industry realises that DRM-free tracks would encourage more people to download music.

Almost two-thirds of music industry executives think that removing the copy-protection on downloads would mean people would buy more music.

Mark Mulligan, one of the authors of the report by JupiterMedia, told the BBC he was "surprised" at the responses, which came from both large and small record labels, rights bodies, digital stores, and others.

Just over half of music executives agreed that DRM systems are too restrictive.

58% of those surveyed at large record labels though that stopping copy-protection would improve download sales.

Seventy percent thought that the way forward is to make sure the tracks play on as many players as possible.

Mulligan said that it's unlikely record companies stop using DRM, as they see it as a way of protecting their rights.

"Despite everything that has been happening the record labels are not about to drop DRM", he said, "even though all they're doing is making themselves look even less compelling by using it."