This fight between Apple and Real over who can
sell license music for the iPod is absurd. Let’s look at what’s happening, starting off with a quick recap of the story.
Apple sells iPods and
sells licenses music through their iTunes Music Store. They make most of their money on iPods, and a little from the store.
Meanwhile, Real makes money by making it really hard to find their free player, and play around with the idea of making money off of music files the way Apple does.
So Real created a way for iPod owners to put the music they downloaded from Real on their iPods. This upset Apple, who makes money when people buy iPods, because it made the iPod more attractive to potential buyers. They vowed to stop Real from making more music available for their iPod.
In response Real, banking on all the customer loyalty they’ve built by hiding their free download, installing all sorts of popup adware and junk desktop icons, thought it would be a good idea to start a grassroots campaign.
What they didn’t count on was the fact that the mac faithful have grown by leaps and bounds thanks to reality distortion field generators embedded in white earbuds. The zealots responded including such biting bon mots as
You people are wrong, wrong, wrong. If we wanted ‘choices’ like yours, they wouldn’t have to be foisted on us. Most of us, given a real choice, would rather see you and your tactics go away. ‘Competition’ doesn’t give you any right to reverse-engineer when you feel like it, but come down on those that hack into your IP rights. It’s theft, pure and simple.
Apparently the author isn’t aware that Real doesn’t actually come to your house and install Harmony on your computer at gunpoint. He is correct in surmising that Real is acting hypocritically which is, you know, unheard of for a large corporation. Luckily Apple is above hypocrisy. OK that was a cheap shot, but how is this different from Apple using the reverse-engineered Samba in OS X?
Real also temporarily dropped the price of their songs to $0.49, which really pissed people off. I don’t know why people who don’t own Apple stock or get an Apple paycheck would be upset at the idea of getting the same product for half price.
This also lead to people saying that Real is losing money by selling songs for less than $0.99. This seems really weird to me, considering the cost of reproduction is nil. I know amateur music collectors who have more than Real’s 200,000 songs archived, I don’t think storage is that expensive. Bandwidth doesn’t cost $0.10/meg in the developed world. I’m not saying that they aren’t a loss leader due to licensing costs, I just think it’s weird to think that something virtual can be a loss leader. It’s not like they have to spend a lot of money mining raw materials.
As we move through closer and closer to sanity, we get people who call for Real to just license mp3s the way eMusic does. What seems to be missing is a call for Apple to do the same, which seems odd. Well not that odd, if you consider that a lot of these people are newly formed Mac fanboys who haven’t learned that Apple can be a bit of a bitch goddess. They’ll fight for Apple no matter what, thanks to the mind control properties of their white earbuds.
The funniest part to me is the fact that none of this should be unexpected. The whole purpose of DRM is to give companies artificial monopolies over their marketplaces. That’s right, that link is important enough for a whole sentence and then some.
Of course all intellectual capital is, is an artificial monopoly framework. DRM just takes that framework and making it more or less impossible to bend the rules.
To pick sides in this battle is absurd, as neither party is in the right. Both are dumb, both want to lock you in, both see you as a potential criminal instead of a potential customer and neither deserve your business. On that subject, does anyone have any complaints (aside from selection size) with eMusic?