How Jobs Made Digital Music March to His Own (i)Tunes; Apple Guru's Revolutionary Thinking Changed How We Listen to Music Forever

Article excerpt

STEVE Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple who pioneered personal computers, is also recognised as the man who revolutionised the music industry by dragging it into the digital world.

The visionary behind the Mac, the iPhone and the iPad also brought the iPod portable media player into the world, as well as the online store iTunes.

When Apple launched the iPod in 2001, MP3-formatted music had been available for several years and manufacturers like SanDisk and Sony were selling digital music players.

But Sony aseemed to keep putting these barriersa up to protect its Sony Music, such as limiting the formats that could be played, said James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research.

Meanwhile, aApple was focused on letting the users get as much out of it as possible,a McQuivey said.

Two years later, the iTunes music store, supported by the iPod's success, became the first to offer legal music downloads on a mass-market scale, selling individual songs for 99 cents, undercutting the price for CDs.

That came out of tough negotiations with music distributors, who did not take kindly to the draconian conditions of single prices on single recordings.

aThe Apple music biz took over the music business because it was so customer-centric,a McQuivey said.

Eight years later, the music world, from artists to the recording industry, were pouring in tributes to Jobs, 56, who died on Wednesday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

The Recording Industry Association of America praised Jobs in particular for countering music piracy and peer-to-peer file sharing, which deprived labels of any revenue.

aWith the introduction of the iTunes software and other platforms, Steve and Apple made it once again easy and accepted to pay for music,a RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman said.

aHe was a true visionary who forever transformed how fans access and enjoy music.a

According to RIAA numbers, the explosive growth in digital music has doubled the volume of music sales and slashed CD sales by more than a third between 2003 and 2010. …