Is this a customer voicing a complaint about the world’s most popular online music store? Nope. It’s, guess what, another competitor taking a pot shot at Apple’s lofty position as the number one music dude on the block.
None other than Real’s CEO, Rob Glaser, taking donut in hand and shooting his weekly wad (to mix a few unfounded, yet graphically incorrect metaphors) at the press. “Apple is evil, iTunes evil, iPod evil. Bill Gates good. Hmmmm.” Quasimodo, anyone?
Mainstream media lap dog c|net news carries all the grime, all the time. “At the iHollywood Forum Digital Living Room conference taking place in San Mateo, Calif., today, [Rob Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks] called the Mac maker [Apple Computer] deceptive for not explicitly telling customers that iTunes songs can’t be transferred easily to other devices.”
What? That can’t be true? Please tell me it’s not true? It just can’t be. I’m mortified, aghast, and surprised.
There are other portable music devices? Who knew?
c|net goes on to report, “‘It doesn’t say anywhere that you have to go through 57 different hoops to play a song on a different device,’ Glaser said. He also added that Jobs, one day, will have to think in terms of subscriptions (like Real), rather than selling individual songs. ‘The day that they introduce subscriptions is the day that Steve Jobs has the brilliant revelation that subscriptions are a good thing,’ Glaser said.”
Well, I know a challenge when I see one. I’m blonde.
So I trudge over to the Apple web site and look around. Here’s what I found to not-quite fit the charge that Apple is deceiving us:
“To play AAC and AAC Protected songs, your iPod must have iPod Software 1.3 or later installed. Not all digital music players can play AAC songs and only iPod can play AAC Protected songs.”
“Songs you import from an audio CD using the AAC format can be converted to MP3 files, which you can burn to MP3 CDs or play on third-party digital music players.”
“Songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store are encoded using the AAC Protected format and cannot be converted to MP3 format. You can burn them to audio CDs and play them in consumer audio CD players”
Well, that settles it. See, it’s apparent from all the “iPod” references that Apple just plain doesn’t know there are other players besides the iPod. After all, why would Apple ONLY sell the iPod if they knew there were other portable music players they could sell.
Wait. Something’s wrong with that. Apple has 90-percent market share for portable hard drive music players. That must mean that it’s the other 10-percent who don’t play music from the iTunes Music Store.
iTMS, by the way, only has a 70-percent market share for online music downloads (the legal kind). Something is clearly amiss.
As to the 57 hoops, well, let’s just say that’s a lot of hoops to jump through.
Being the talented, experienced, and proficient editorialist and investigative reporter that I so clearly are… uh, am, I counted the number of hoops required to jump through to get music OFF my iTunes and into another player.
First, 57 should only apply to Heinz catsup, the score in a football game, and not to hoops to jump through. Maybe Real’s chubby little CEO had one too many chocolate covered donuts and the sugar high caused an exaggeration.
Hey, it happens.
How many “hoops” do you have to jump through to play an iTunes Music Store song on another device? Well, not 57.
Step #1 – burn iTunes Music Store songs onto blank CD.
Step #2 – import songs into Windows PC music player of choice.
Step #3 – copy songs to portable music player of choice.
That was so hard? No. And it’s probably not so hard for a bitter old height challenged former Microsoft executive, either. You see, when you’re the top dawg (Apple, iTunes, iTunes Music Store, iPod, Mac OS X, Mac mini, “mindshare”) you have to expect the worst in some people (Real who? Napster who? Dell DJ who?).
One more thing™—Online music subscriptions? Fine with me. Bring ‘em on. As soon as the iTunes Music Store has a subscription service, I’m there.
By the way, Mister Glaser, you owe me 54 hoops. Start jumping.