Welcome


RSS Version

Apple Store New York

Apple Music: Singing out of Tune

5/5/2003

If you have spent any time at all with the new Apple Music service, chances are you are disappointed. I am, my iBook-toting daughter is, and chances are if it ever gets to the PC world, the other 97% of computer users will be too.

Apple claims it is a revolution. If it is, it is a counter-revolution. With 200,000 songs from a vault of 20+ million, the grand wizards of the musical clans have played Steve Jobs as a fool. Apple has put up the cash, lent its credibility, and created a wonderful technology, but the music industry has only allowed access primarily to the junk in the cut-out bins. And reportedly, the music company gets 65 cents per song. So who is the real winner here?

And don’t plan on cherry-picking this sparse collection. Not all the albums available are complete. If you ever wanted that one great song, like Loan Me A Dime by Boz Scaggs, it is conveniently missing from the album, even though most of his collection is available.

The cynic in me suspects that the new codec technology will end up being the digital rights management tool of the future. And worse, if this model fails, the music cartels will use the failure as reason for more stringent digital rights controls. A clever sabotage followed by a self-fulfilling example as proof.

Steve Jobs stated,"Napster showed us that the Internet was made for digital music delivery." Actually, what Napster proved is that “supply and demand” is not working at all. There is a huge pent-up demand for music, and the prices are out of line with people’s appetite. Providing songs at 99 cents maintains the record companies stranglehold on both the artists and their fans.

If Apple really believed in a revolution as they are touting it, instead of aligning with the record companies, they should have aligned themselves with the independent music producers and portals like cdbaby.com. Had Apple introduced Apple Radio, they would be streaming a world of underappreciated music to the masses. Revolutionary? A revolution would provide a direct payment link between the artist and the listener, and circumvent the music cartels. And the music would be purchased via the radio and be affordable, like pennies per song.

Artists are disgusted with the music industry and some have actually stopped recording, or are promoting themselves. By providing a direct link between the artist and the listener, established artists would come on board as soon as their contracts allowed them. The entire digital rights conflict would be rendered moot because the gatekeepers would be impotent. That is the revolution music fans are waiting for.


***This was my first essay at mymac.com, and it caught the eye of Shaun King of YourMacLife.com Radio show. (The name of his show may have been different then.) Anyway, he promptly named me “Bozo of the Week,” because of these crazy figures I was quoting, etc. I didn’t know then that any criticism of themothership was stricktly verboten. When I found out about the “Bozo of the Week” bit I exchanged a few e-mails with him. I needled him because my facts were correct, and he invited me to be on his show. We had a pleasant conversation and I have a terrible radio voice.

His knee-jerk reaction was the first of many to follow both at Mac websites and at other websites/forums.