We love Steve Jobs. Just check the above old photo of him cold chillin’ in his apartment with nothing but a cup of tea and a stack of LPs to keep him company. It’s like he’s acting out a scene from my life (if only I had that nice of a turntable). As much as we’ve unintentionally been positioned as opponents to Apple in the conversation about iCloud (who knew we were going to be effectively the only people anyone can find to say anything negative about the concept?), in general we are fans of Apple. We work on Macs, we use iTunes, and iTunes is by far our favorite digital vendor. What we really love about Steve Jobs, however, is his direct manner. Our favorite Steve Jobs quotes are his famously terse responses to customer, client, and competitor questions (usually by email.) You can review some of the famous repartee here:
However, our general respect for the company isn’t unconditional, and we expressed that point strongly enough (but not as strong as the media echo chambers’ “line in the sand” type discourse indicates) but not disrespectfully. It’s still too much for some of the “be true to your school” Apple fan base, however.
We’re making a pretty nuanced point about iCloud, and there are two main components to it that we can sort of summarize: 1) We don’t think that Apple’s interpretation of copyright law is necessarily going to prevail when the royalty advisory board meets, many months from now and 2) the potential payoff is too small for us to really sign off on this potentially wrong interpretation for our artists and copyright holders we work with. That’s a pretty succinct version, that doesn’t address the piracy quagmire, because we realize there are many people out there that do pay for all their downloads and don’t always shop from iTunes (because if you buy our stuff at iTunes, it’s already in your cloud automatically, based on what we’re told.) Not surprisingly, not everyone gets the nuanced point, so Steve Jobs is stepping in to answer some of the emails we’ve been getting. [Disclaimer: Steve Jobs likely wants nothing to do with us, and is certainly not answering emails and blog comments on our behalf. We’re just quoting some of his famous replies. ]
I can’t say as I have ever heard of any of your artists before, but now that you’ve opted out of iTunes match, I will actively AVOID anything you produce! Remember: there is not such thing as bad press…?
[To quote Steve Jobs] Yep.
You’re those that have the complain about the iCloud capacity that will be offered to the people to listen to their music remotely even if it was not bought???… You’re those who claim you see much more of your music at places like mediafire from those you actually sell??? Well, let me tell you a few things:
1.- The big music labels see one benefit: people will pay at least a little fee with the annual subscription that is required for all that music that has not been bought. If you see out there 10 times the music you sell, they can see at leas 50 times that music, so they should complain even more about that, but they don’t, because of this subscription people has to pay to use iCloud.
2.- You are not into the iTunes Music Store.
3.- To be able to listen to the music you have in your computer at another computer of yours or dispositive such as iPad or iPhone IT HAS TO BE at the iTunes Music Store. So, your music IS NOT in this situation to be able to listen through the iCloud service!
4.- In fact, because you’re not at the iTunes Music Store people who has bought your music WILL NOT BE ABLE to listen to it through iCloud!
Maybe instead of complaining about people been able to listen to music they didn’t bought with iCloud (but will have to pay at least a little fee to be able to do that) you should be thinking about the people that has bought your music and will not be able to have this benefits! Anf you’d get at least a little income from all that music at the web.
[We’re not sure we got all that, but luckily Steve came through in the clutch with a reply] No.
You’ll be left out in the cold and I won’t be listening to any of your artists anymore. Get off your high horse. This might be the only opportunity you have to monetize all the tracks that have been downloaded illegally for the past couple of years. Regardless, if this is the stance you will take, I will no longer be listening to any albums sold or distributed through your label.
[Steve, as usual, said it best] It sounds like you’re just looking for someone to get mad at other than yourself.
A label no one’s ever heard of with artists you’ll never listen decides to do something bad for customers and potential customers…and does so with a high and mighty tone. You’re no better than the big four. You’re not really interested in getting music to an audience on the terms the audience wants. Only on the terms you want. But entertainment isn’t about you (especially as a label), it’s about the audience.
[Don’t know what Steve’s gonna say to this, could be tricky.] We are doing the best we can.
To the Apple fans that feel like we’re talking smack about their alma mater, you can really chill. No one’s coming to your house to take your iPad away. There’s a struggle going on between those that want copyrighted material (music, movies, books) to serve technological products, and those that want technology to serve copyrighted material. If your love of a certain technology is so great that you’d be willing to avoid some great music, you might not like music as much as you think.
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