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Apple iTunes After One Year
April 28, 2004
Thomas Mennecke
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One year ago today, Apple's iTunes launched amid great fanfare. Although its attributes are typical of most industry sanctioned networks, it filled a great void within the Macintosh market. With few adequate P2P networks designed to accommodate Mac users, iTunes was an alluring prospect from the usual exclusion Apple users face.

Like most other networks with the RIAA's seal of approval, downloads cost an absurd 99 cents per song. In addition, the downloaded material can only be transferred to an Apple iPod mp3 player. If you think the current DRM laden network is already a rip-off, Apple has decided to tighten the noose a bit more. From Apple's press release:

"Honoring Apple's commitment to discourage music theft while preserving fair personal use rights, the number of times a user can burn the same playlist onto CDs with iTunes is being reduced from ten burns to seven. Users can still burn a single song an unlimited number of times and listen to their music on an unlimited number of iPods."

In all fairness however, Apple is throwing its users a bone. Instead of sharing your music with only three computers, Apple will now give you permission to share them with five computers. Permission slips will be made available upon request.

"The rights to play songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store, including songs previously purchased, on up to five personal computers, two more than before."

Apple has further extended their charity by offering "a free song of the day for the next eight days from artists who have helped make iTunes a runaway success, including Foo Fighters (sucks), Avril Lavigne (sucks), Courtney Love (sucks), Annie Lennox (sucks), Jane's Addiction (sucks), Counting Crows (sucks), Renee Fleming (sucks) and Nelly Furtado (sucks)." The effort is a "thank you" to the community for helping make the RIAA a bit wealthier.

Despite the fanfare and propaganda, Apple iTunes has none-the-less fallen far short of its download projections. According to Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, the company had hoped that 100 million downloads would be accomplished by the end of April. Although 70 million downloads is impressive (by "legitimate" standards) this quantity falls far short of expectations.

While RIAA-approved networks have made some headway, compared to P2P networks they still have a quantum leap of catching up to do. Napster’s return has been less than stellar with a measly 5 million downloads. With expensive download prices, poor portability, and limited sharing ability, its likely the “legitimate” music distribution market will continue to fall short of expectations.

You can read the press release here.

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Authorized Music Store :: iTunes Homepage. Homepage.

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