Jobs says independent music labels ‘calling us like crazy’

Steve Jobs, Apple Computer CEO, talked to TIME’s Laura Locke about getting music execs on board, other competing music services, and why he thinks his is the coolest thing around.

Time asked, “Do you think you’ll be able to sway the tens of millions who use the unauthorized services?” Jobs’ response, “I don’t know. We’ll find out. But this is really a far better experience. Not only do the downloads not crap out half way through; and not only is it perfectly encoded ? instead of having the last four seconds cut off – but offering previews of every song in the store is just giant. Just click a button and you’re hearing a preview – it’s really cool. And it allows you to explore music in a way that no download service has ever done to date. And the ability to browse – you can’t do that with Kazaa, you can’t do any of this stuff with Kazaa, the experience is so much better than Kazaa, I think a lot of people don’t want to spend 15 minutes downloading a song and getting a less than perfect quality song when they’re all done, and, without a preview, finding out it’s the wrong song by the time they’re done.”

Time asked, “What about independent labels? Will they follow suit?” Jobs responded, “Yes. They’ve already been calling us like crazy. We’ve had to put most of them off until after launch just because the big five have most of the music, and we only had so many hours in the day. But now we’re really going to have time to focus on a lot of the independents and that will be really great.”

More questions and interesting answers here.


  1. Very cool. I bought my first tune yesterday. Although I’d like to see the selection expand (why are some tracks on a particular CD not available at all) I can see this as a definate option for me. Good start, Steve.

  2. This will definitely be huge to all those smaller artists who are looking to catch a break. Having their songs available on iTunes for $0.99 to a (soon-to-be) worldwide audience is absolutely incredible.

  3. I cannot wait for the indies to come on board, given that I tried typing in ten artists I bought recently and none of them came up. Bring on the indies and you will finally have my money, Apple.

  4. Well it’s about time that Steve had an idea that Bill Gates can eventually claim (steal) as his. Bill was getting worried that there were no good ideas left that he could call his own.

  5. I do hope that Apple will treat the small record labels well. The major retailers give small labels the shaft. Limited shelf space and high distribution costs have constrained the availability of niche artist labels. These constraints just don’t apply to the Apple store, with disk space at $1000/TB and distribution riding the coat-tails of existing broadband deployment. Jobs is right, at this point it is simply an issue of manpower to get the songs added to the iTunes store.

  6. what apple needs to concentrate on is creating a level playing field for artist of all labels. that would be a huge boost to the quality of new music. i’m optomistic that in the near future artists will have the ability to become well know based simply on the merits of their music, wouldn’t that be novel?

  7. I hope that I see more Metropolis and Nettwerk music at the iMusic store soon…

    As for independent artists, has an extensive selection with very low prices. As of now, they use high quality VBR MP3s to encode their songs, so they are completely unlimited in their use and sound awesome.

  8. Lemme see… the little artists get a better chance (everything looks the same online…), we get a better sound (AAC vs. MP3), better choice of music, better quality downloads, better prices… who can lose?


  9. EMUSIC???? Whoever commented that emusic has “high quality” music must be joking — or work for them. The songs I’ve downloaded from emusic are all 128 bit MP3’s — and sound like crap — very fatiguing.

    And the quality? My god, half the songs I downloaded from eMusic crapped out — and many even skip! (it appears they don’t even quality-check their material).

    So for my (hard earned) money — I would rather listen to an Apple encoded AAC file at 128 bit (equivalent to 160 bit MP3) taken from the master recording, than some amateur-hour 128-bit MP3 file posted to eMusic. Listen for yourself. Plus who wants to pay $10.00 a month if you download any music or not. EMusic will be remembered as an “early experiment” I predict — Apple’s site will steamroller them (and most others). Hopefully eMusic and the others will use Apple’s success to leverage their relationship with the Major Labels (and thier lawyers) and demand the ability to offer higher bitrate music to their customers. We’ve been starved for so long by the music industry — all we want is good sounding music, a decent selection, and a conveninet method to download. It’s time for the industry to stop treating customers as criminals who need to be punished and ripped off — it’s time for them to realize that the Internet is not going away, and it will be the preferred method for buying, listening to and distributing music long ofter the Major Labels are gone and forgotten.

    /end of rant

  10. if you know what you are doing on kazaa you can get perfect downloaded songs. Oh… did i mention for free. i have over a thousand songs and all of them are full songs of great quality with know skips, they also download in less than a minute.

  11. What about the rest of the world, how much long do we have to wait?

    Steve, how about more music videos and when are feature movies going to be available?

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