Why can’t the music industry do this?
Jobs/Apple has been pilloried for weeks regarding the company’s refusal to allow Flash on its mobile devices and the dictation of permissible software development tools.
It’s become a tsunami. Steve and Apple are bullies, out of touch with modern computing, they want to own the Internet. Everyone from the "New York Times" to prominent bloggers has been piling on. Because that’s what you do these days, make a public stink and watch your opponent crumble.
But that only works in sports and entertainment, where the nitwit says a mea culpa and goes to rehab. What’s next, rehab for traffic offenders, rehab for junk food junkies? The goal of rehab seems to get the public off your back. But what if you bite back, what if you speak your truth, what happens then?
Well, we’re gonna find out. Because today Steve Jobs answered his critics. In depth. And makes a very convincing argument.
Being atop the world, and make no mistake, Jobs & Apple are, makes you a target. But the only way to survive when you’re on top is to lead. Otherwise some unknown will come and steal your thunder. Can you say MySpace? So busy making advertising deals, the company didn’t address its crappy interface and crash and privacy problems. So it was superseded by Facebook, a sleeker competitor that was an also-ran, only for students, before it exploded.
So, if Apple doesn’t lead, who ends up winning?
This is what the hoi polloi don’t get. Sure, Steve Jobs cares about the present, but he cares even more about the future! The iPhone’s introduction was a big deal, but the App Store even bigger. And now it’s about mobile advertising. In other words, like that old Split Enz song, he’s doing his best to be one step ahead.
And the public is too dumb to know where he’s headed.
Kind of like Irving Azoff and Live Nation. People read that "New York Times" story and think it’s only about the money. Yes, let’s bring Irving down. So…
Irving’s been two steps ahead of everybody else. Rolling up management companies, making the deal with Ticketmaster, ultimately merging the company with Live Nation. He’s trying to prepare for the future. The labels? They’re just complaining, saying let’s go back to the twentieth century, and in the meantime, can you give us all your rights?
And where’s the music industry exec willing to go on record like Jobs? Then again, when Doug Morris did that interview with "Wired" he just looked dumb, like he had no clue what was going on. This is how you lead into the future?
Music is free because the labels made it so. They refused to license a distribution system that fit with modern times, they refused to look into the future, they just wanted people to come back to the past, by suing file-traders. Kind of like these three strikes laws… You can’t solve the problem of piracy via legislation… How are you going to stop hard drive swapping? How are you going to end IM file-transfers? Are you planning to shut down YouTube and other online exhibitors that allow people to listen to music?
Does Irving win? Who the hell knows. Live Nation is a river of nickels saddled with a ton of debt. And most acts are burning their futures by ripping off customers now. Maybe someone more innovative comes in and steals Live Nation’s thunder.
One thing we do know is the labels are dead. By their own hands. And someone’s gonna lead and win in the future. And that someone will succeed not by old wave, pre-Internet behind the scenes dealing, but by being upfront, open and honest, speaking a truth that the crybabies may not like, but protects the speaker’s best interests and ultimately benefits the consumer.
Shit, the consumer loves free music. And loves Spotify.
The consumer hates high ticket prices.
But the problem is the acts, not Rapino or Live Nation. But the public doesn’t want to believe the acts are greedy. Then again, is the music business in trouble because most people know the acts are vapid, mercenary, self-interested nobs?
There is no privacy anymore. Everyone’s an open target. Your best bet is to come clean, to come out and tell the story your way.
And if you’re not thinking two steps down the line, you’re gonna be left behind.
P.S. If you can’t understand Jobs’ letter, that’s just the point. Either you know what’s going on, or you don’t. And don’t bother dumbing down your message for the idiots who have no clue what’s going on. That might work on talk radio, on Fox News, but on the Internet, discourse is on a higher plane, and there’s a plethora of surfers out to getcha if you’re fibbing, if you’re not telling the truth.