Cloud iTunes DESTROYS music business FOREVER!
Says man. We disagree...
More hysterical shrieking reaches us about Apple's new music feature, I'm afraid.
Earlier this week a lone lawyer said that iTunes Match, which populates an online store with songs you already have, encourages infringement. Well, this one is even nuttier.
It's actually so spectacularly muddle-headed, I thought it might be is a good time to examine what did and didn't happen this week, briefly - so we can see through the hype to the reality.
Bob Lefsetz, the shouty publisher of the eponymous industry newsletter, is normally very critical of record labels - often for the right reasons.
"His intense brilliance captivates readers from Steven Tyler to Rick Nielsen to Bryan Adams to Quincy Jones to EVERYBODY who’s in the music business," he says modestly, on his own site. This week finds Bob barking furiously up the wrong tree. He thinks the labels have sold out the future record industry, in return for a one-off payment of a few dollars from Apple.
"For approximately $40 million to the bottom line of each recording company, you know they’re not going to share the revenue with artists, the labels sold out their future.
It’s like Nintendo being paid a bunch of money to never develop the Wii.
It’s like Electronic Arts being paid to never develop mobile games.
It’s a denial of the future."
Paying for Apple's iCloud doesn't get you any music you don't already have - as we have pointed out a number of times already this week. If you want to hear a song you don't already have access to, you have a number of options. You're going to have to buy it, or rent it via a subscription service, or wait until it comes round on the radio, or find an unlicensed (aka "pirate") copy from the Torrents or Rapidshare, or a blog, or some other unlicensed source.
Or borrow a copy off a mate.
In other words, these are exactly the same choices you had before Monday's iTunes Match service was unveiled. The supply side is unchanged.
All iTunes Match offers us is a universal, multi-directional synchronisation option for our music collections, rather than the bi-directional PC to mobile option common today. Spotify already offers something similar today, but for around six times the subscription fee, you also get access to millions of songs you don't already own. (Which is then sync'd across multiple devices).
Why is Bob not complaining that Spotify is destroying the future of the music industry? Because it would be silly. But that proposition has more merit than positing that nobody will ever buy another song they don't already own. That's the only way Bob's argument can stand up.
I can't quite see why this would happen, or how iTunes Match would cause the greatest, and certainly unprecedented, shift in cultural demand patterns in human history.