Steve Jobs Was the Ultimate DJ
Did Steve Jobs Pioneer The Digital Music Industry?
Thinking Differently About Music
The illegal digital distribution of music first began in the dark area of the web. Everything changed when a website called Napster went viral.
Napster allowed for the mass sharing of music collections on a large scale, without the need for payment.
In a way, this was nothing new. People had been sharing cassette tapes for a long time.
The big difference was that the internet introduced a new scale to this bootleg operation.
The Music Industry Took a Huge Hit, and Never Recovered
Overnight the music industry seemed doomed to fail, and in some ways, it did. At the time, record executives had a stigma as evil beings who had too much money and preyed on young talent by extorting them for their music.
All of a sudden, the industry was turned upside down, with artists feeling the pain, while consumers could now access and discover as much free music as they wanted.
Then along came Mr. Steve Jobs.
Digital Distribution and Data
It was clear to Jobs that the internet was here to stay, and that the music industry needed a new way for people to interact with music in the digital age.
So in 2003, iTunes was launched after a couple of years of painstaking negotiations.
Jobs' advantage was his power to persuade and his relentless drive towards his goals. He succeeded where many others failed by convincing major record labels to sign deals with iTunes.
As a company, Apple later had the power in 2009 to remove Digital Rights Management (DRM) from the music collection.
Removing DRM meant that users could then download music and truly own it. Previously you could only play the songs on an Apple iPod, but after 2009 the music could be transferred to a hard drive and played using other media players.
Most major labels still post music to iTunes, now Apple Music, and as a DJ, if you are looking to buy music. The iTunes Store is still a viable place to find popular releases for a low price.
Apple did take some power away from the major record labels and allowed independent artists to release music to its platform. The iTunes platform gave anyone the ability to distribute their music on a global scale.
The Internet and Copyright
In the end, the music industry has still not fully recovered, and its revenue from peaks of 30 billion dollars, before the internet was mainstream, is now only slowly recovering.
The internet changed the way we consume music, and from the listeners and DJs' perspective, it has introduced us to a whole new world.
From the perspective of music artists, it has made it more challenging to produce income from traditional ways of thinking and selling music. Some would argue that it has forced music artists to come up with innovations and create more new music.
The challenge of copyright and DRM is still a pressing issue today. As perception shifts and the music industry starts to find its feet after being knocked down by the internet, we should take a moment to stop and recognize the pioneering work of Steve Jobs and his influence on the music industry.
The Price of Good Music
If being a DJ is about sharing music, then Steve Jobs was potentially the ultimate DJ. Jobs created the foundation of Digital Music Distribution by convincing major labels and artists that music consumption had changed and would never be the same again.
Comment below what do you think. Did Jobs create the new age music industry, or did he destroy the music industry?