So, the battle of words between Apple and the music industry has begun (article is here). In my opinion, Steve Jobs is right. The music publishers are greedy. Bronfman’s logic doesn’t hold water. In the current pricing scheme on iTunes Music Store more popular songs generate more income by the fact that they are downloaded more often. Bronfman tries to paint the picture that the music industry is making iPod’s market. However, the case could be made that iPod is delivering to the music industry a new venture for its product. The fact of the matter is that buying music through iTunes Music Store ends you up with less than when you purchase a CD. Songs purchased via iTMS carry Digital Rights Management (something forced on customers by the music producers) and do not include any physical media (no CD, no liner notes). I have on occasion bought music through iTMS and then also purchased the CD. The industry makes money twice on those deals. And I’m willing to bet I’m not alone.
The music industry has always resisted change. The music industry tried to prevent cassette tape, mini-Disc, and other forms of music storage. At the end of the day, it is becoming difficult to see what value the music industry adds. Improvements and falling costs are making the products of digital home recording studios better and better. The Internet is providing excellent low cost marketing channels and product delivery mechanisms. I believe the day is approaching when artists will have the option of self-publishing. This, at least in theory, would allow the artist to deliver content directly to the customer base, with all the elegance of a the music industry.
The music industry more and more resembles the woolly mammoth, unable to adapt to a changing environment and slowing dying as a result.