Feeds

The music biz's digital flops - a short history

Beware of The Next Big Thing

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Enter iTunes

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.