We’ve heard it before. Apple is evil. Steve Jobs is evil. The iPod is evil. Of course, the only place we hear such nonesense is from Apple’s iTunes, iPod, iTunes Music Store Competitors, such as Napster, and, uh, there are others, right?
Yes, Virginia, there is a Scrooge. But it’s not Apple or the iPod or Apple head Steve Jobs. It’s the competition grousing about Apple’s 60-percent to 80-percent market share.
Just last week it was RealNetworks’ CEO rob Glaser who said Steve Jobs is an example of ‘pigheadedness.’ No matter how you view it, it’s a pot calling a kettle black. It takes one to know one.
This week, formerly illegal now legal Napster, itself a distant also-ran in the online music wars, decides to be heard. Hey, it’s the holidays. No one is paying attention to Napster. Except Business Week magazine.
Business Week has decided to ruffle feathers, stoke the fires, and provide a little publicity to Napster, who used to get it free when they were illegal, now that they’re legal no one can spell Napster.
What’s the hottest techno gift this holiday season? Same as last season. The various and sundry flavors of Apple’s hot-selling iPod; shuffle, nano, iPod.
Is there a villain to be found anywhere this year? If so, it’s the same as last year, only this time it’s Business Week and Napster’s honcho pointing out the less than obvious to the rest of us.
Apple’s iPod is a ‘villain.’ How can that be? Oh, it must be because you can download explicity lyrics music and listen to it in private on your iPods, right?
Hmmmm. No. You can do that on any of the dozens of other MP3 players not being sold this holiday season.
Oh, wait. I know. It’s the new iPod with video and all the porn you can watch on it that makes it such a villain, right? No, that can’t be it, either, because porn’s been available on Macs and PCs forever.
How does Apple’s iPod get to be a villain? Says who?
Says Business week, “Critics say Apple’s proprietary technology and its refusal to offer more ways to buy or to stray from its rigid 99 cents a song model is dampening legal sales of digital tunes.”
Says Chris Gorog, CEO of Napster, “The villain in the story is the iPod.” What? How can that be?
The iPod is selling like hotcakes; about four times as much as all other portable music players combined. Music from the iTunes Music Store is selling like hotcakes; about four times as much as the rest of the industry put together.
What’s wrong with this picture, Chris? Chris says, “You have this device consumers love, but they’re being restricted from buying anything other than downloads from Apple. People are bored with that.”
Well, let’s see. They have iPods. They have two million songs to download from iTMS (more than other online music stores). iPod users can capture all the CDs any user may have. iPod users have music videos, TV shows, none of which are available from Naptser, or Microsoft, or RealNetworks, or whatever.
What’s wrong with this picture? Nielsen SoundScan says legal online download sales actually fell .44-percent over the Thanksgiving week compared to the Third Quarter total. That means sales are going down, despite iPod sales going up.
Then what are people putting on their iPods?
Business Week says, “sales of iTunes gift cards are “off the charts,” so downloads should surge after Christmas. And even with the sales lull, iTunes is still the fastest-growing and most margin-rich source of sales for record labels.”
Uh, I don’t know about you, but I’m having a problem seeing how the iPod is a villain to anyone or anything except, uh, well, except Microsoft, Napster, RealNetworks, Yahoo! Music, and other also-ran, wannabe players.
Basically, the competition and Business Week have figured out that there are other services that ‘could’ be offered to iPod users that are not being offered by Apple, and that is stiffling growth. Except Apple’s growth; they can barely keep up with demand.
Is this sour grapes? Music industry execs want Apple to open up iTunes Music Store pricing a multiple tier; perhaps 39-cent songs from 20 years ago, vs. say, $1.99 for a hot selling single by whomever is selling hot these days.
Apple says no, so pricing stays the way it is and everyone is grumbling. Except customers. Apple seems to be paying more attention to customer needs than Microsoft, Naptser, AOL, RealNetworks, Yahoo! Music, or anyone else. Including Business Week.
Notice that Business Week only quotes industry insiders and no ‘average Joe’ customers? Why? They’re at the mall buyiing iPods, rushing home and buying songs from the iTunes Music Store.
For that, Apple gets labeled a ‘villain.’ There is no justice in the world.
Jack D. Miller
No justice, Bambi? Apple is laughing all the way to the bank.
When there’s a competing product with a better widget (feature) then it’ll show up on the iPod, iTunes and iTMS. Subscriptions are just as big a deal to users as an FM radio in an iPod.
Carol Mary Miller
Grumbling from Apple’s so-called competition always makes for good headlines.