Kottke on iTunes 4

Posted by Pierre Igot in: iTunes, Music, Technology
May 18th, 2003 • 11:32 pm

Widely-read kottke.org has an item on iTunes wondering whether Apple is “stupid or courageous” for implementing features that make it relatively easy for entreprising third parties to create software that enables local saves of shared iTunes libraries of tunes.

iTunes 4, is Apple stupid or courageous?” at kottke.org

Being based in Canada, I have not had the opportunity to experience the iTunes Music Store first-hand yet, so my ability to respond or comment is rather limited.

In general terms, however, it is clear that Apple is walking a fine line. They might be using their clout with the technology and music industry to effectively implement a “middle ground” between “copyright protection” (which a nice way of saying institutionalized artistic racket) and user-friendliness. After all, it is hard to imagine the RIAA shutting down Apple’s service after all the positive reviews and success. They are already so unpopular with tech savvy music lovers and Internet users in general… This would be the last straw.

The bottom-line, in my view, is that no “digital safety” feature, however elaborate it is, will ever be good enough to guard against casual copying. The RIAA doesn’t care about musical quality or artistry. All they care about is protecting their million-selling products from piracy. They have no faith in educating the masses about the value of art — because their best-selling “art” has so little artistic value in the first place. So policing is, in their view, the only option.

The problem is that policing hundreds of millions of very ordinary citizens is totally unrealistic. In capitalist speak, what we have here is a change in “consumer behavior” and real capitalists are supposed to be able to adapt to a “changing market”. The RIAA is in complete denial. Adapt to the new technology and the new “market” it creates, or die a fully deserved death.

For a good, sarcastic laugh, head to the Business 2.0 web site to read a column by Hilary Rosen, the soon-to-be-former head of the RIAA. The title says it all: “Why the Recording Industry Loves Tech“. What a laugh.

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.