Editorial: Thank you, Steve | iLounge Article

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Editorial: Thank you, Steve

Too often, editorials are reserved for criticism or journalistic rambling, so this one will be the opposite: short and sweet.

Around this time last year, the music industry faced a major threat: itself. The heads of major labels were publicly pushing Apple Computer to change the pricing structure of the iTunes Music Store - predictably, with the primary goal of increasing prices on popular new music. There was a very real possibility that some labels’ music might disappear from the Store.

Last September, rather than bowing to the labels’ demands, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took a bold position. He faced down the suppliers of one of his most important products - music - and publicly called them out as “greedy.” Then he said what virtually every consumer of legal digital music believes: this is the wrong time to raise prices, and the consequence would most certainly be a return to mass piracy at a critical juncture in digital distribution’s history.

He was right: the mainstreaming of legal downloading is still a work in progress, and mainstream consumers require aggressive prices. The power of his observation was only underscored by his company’s past willingness to charge premiums wherever possible - if Apple says a price is too high, that might just be enough to prove it.

Ultimately, the labels were forced to concede to his terms - 99 cent songs will continue to dominate iTunes, at least for now.

So on behalf of our readers, and hopefully consumers as a whole, we’d like to say “thank you” to Steve Jobs for fighting a public battle to keep prices reasonable on something we all enjoy. It took guts to stand up to criticism from multiple corners, and strength to prevail. We’ll be downloading a few tracks tonight as a token of gratitude, and encouraging our readers to do the same.

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Comments

1

I was actually kind of hoping the music labels would be stupid enough to raise the prices on the new popular stuff, assuming the older less popular stuff would then be under 99 cents. Then we could see if that would drive demand further down the demand curve, so the lesser known artists would get some appreciation.

Personally I use eMusic, and never pay money for music on iTMS.

Posted by Mike W in Silicon Valley, CA on May 2, 2006 at 4:53 PM (CDT)

2

Personally, I think .99 for a 128kbps file is robbery.

Posted by icantpod on May 10, 2006 at 4:14 PM (CDT)

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