Feeds

The music biz's digital flops - a short history

Beware of The Next Big Thing

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Label-owned stories

So as the mud started to crack, flop went the recording industry into the next puddle, which in retrospect looks like an episode from TV's The Good Life. The record companies attempted self-sufficiency while their bemused technology neighbours looked over the fence.

So, in 2001 Universal was ready to announce Duet, its exclusive licensing partnership with Sony, to push its own aforementioned bluematter file format on as many unfortunate retailers as it could corral. And shortly after, RealNetworks put together a consortium of the other major labels and announced MusicNet, to do much the same.

Here's the counteraction: 2001 was the year of Apple's 'Rip. Mix. Burn.' campaign, as it added a CD-RW drive to the already iconic iMac home computer.

Apple's Rip, Mix & Burn campaign

The labels whinged, of course, and while 'fair use' got its first real public airing in the press, the hipper recording execs started talking about downloading CDs to your computer and ripping the files to your MP3 player. Language is a window on the soul sometimes. The public was so excited by their new freedom with music, that when Apple launched the iPod the brand name was immediately genericised, like the hoover and fridge before it. And recording execs - now looking slightly less hip - started pointedly referring to 'MP3 players': meaning any device which could decrypt Windows Media DRM.

It took just over a year for RealNetworks to realise that record companies were - to bring the Good Life analogy to a climax - unable to recognise a goat, let alone milk one or turn it into curry pasties, hopping back over the fence to rejoin the technologists and announcing that the future was in its own subscription service, Rhapsody. Spotting another muddy puddle, the record strategists flexed their fins and went for it.

A new approach to endpoint data protection

Next page: Enter iTunes

More from The Register

next story
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?