NY Times: Apple has ‘future of online music in its hands’

“Apple Computer seems to have the future of online music in its hands for the moment. Its new service, iTunes Music Store, has been the first real success story in the long effort to sell music over the Internet. In just its first month of operation the service, by the company’s estimate, has sold three million songs online, at 99 cents each. This is an impressive figure considering the limited access that music fans now have to the service. Less than 1 percent of the country’s home computers are Macintoshes that are compatible with the iTunes Music Store, and only a fraction of those have a broadband connection to the Internet,” writes Neil Strauss for the NY Times.

Strauss then goes into the so-called iTunes “piracy” saga and seems to misunderstand Rendezvous, writing as if Apple’s version of Zero Config is a technology for sharing music only. Then Strauss notes Apple’s ownership of the technologies that made the iTunes Music Store possible.

Strauss writes, “What is notable about the success of iTunes is that it has been achieved not by a music company but by a computer company. And this makes sense, because it was a computer solution that was needed, not a music one. Even more impressive is that Apple’s coup has been accomplished relatively simply and cheaply. It owns nearly everything it is using: the Web browser software (Safari), the computer media player (iTunes), the portable digital music player (iPod), the streaming technology to play music videos (Quicktime), the software that creates the service (WebObjects), the computer itself (Macintosh) and the operating system (MacOS).”

“‘Apple is the new MTV,’ said Numair Faraz, 18, who has started several online service companies. ‘It is the new funnel for music. When things moved from radio to video, MTV was the sole source of music. Now Apple is going to control the distribution and the promotion of music. The entire ecosystem they are using is theirs.’ Mr. Faraz said he bought roughly $115 worth of music at the iTunes store last month. In comparison, he said, he spent no money on CD’s in the last year,” Strauss reports.

Full article (free registration required) here.


  1. About the 1%:

    Note that he writes:
    “… Macintoshes that are compatible with the iTunes Music Store”
    That is probably not that far from the truth.

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