Strange parallels between Apple in 2012 and Microsoft in 1997.
Yesterday, I looked into how the modular by design approach impacted the music business. Today, I’m examining how music stores are selling tracks. Much has been made recently of the battle between Apple and Real Networks. After their attempt to partner up with Apple were rebuffed, Real Networks introduced a new product called Harmony, which allowed songs bought in the RealPlayer music store to be played on an iPod. Of course, Apple was shocked and threatened lawsuit. In a way, the reaction by Apple was to be expected as they were trying to create a new bundle around the online music business. Their model is not one of album sales but one of an integrated media package that includes both a device (the iPod) and a service (the iTunes music store). This contention is encapsulated in the way they present their offering on the Apple site. The tab at the top of their pages clearly states “iPod + iTunes” and the company sees them as part of the same offering. By introducing a different way to buy and manage music on the iPod, Real Networks attacked the heart of Apple music strategy, unbundling the device from the service. While Apple…Read More
With Linux becoming a strong alternative to Microsoft’s operating system, some members of the open source community are setting their sights on a new target: the music industry. The group has introduced a new sound format called Ogg Vorbis, which promises to deliver better sound quality or smaller digital music files than the popular MP3 file format. Ogg Vorbis is a fully open, non-proprietary, patent-and-royalty-free, general-purpose compressed audio format for high quality (44.1-48.0kHz, 16+ bit, polyphonic) audio and music at fixed and variable bitrates from 16 to 128 kbps per channel according to a statement on the official Ogg Vorbis site. MP3 was designed by committees so it ended up with a bunch of useless junk in it says Jack Moffitt, project manager on Ogg Vorbis. Because we designed Vorbis from the ground up, we have streamlined a lot of the technology and created better algorithms for encoding and decoding. The new format, which uses the extension .OGG, was developed as an alternative to MP3 and already has a long history. Seven years ago, Chris Montgomery, now one of the leaders on the Ogg Vorbis project, wanted to burn his CD collection to his computer. However, the hard drive he…Read More
It’s official: it’s curtain for Napster for now. The judge in a lawsuit filed the Recording Industry Association of America ordered the service to shut its doors by midnight this Friday. The genie is out of the bottle Yet, I can’t help but believe that the shutdown of Napster will not do much in terms of limiting distribution of online music. People will now move to alternative services like Gnutella and Freenet. In other words, it’s time for the recording industry to face the music. Shawn Fawning and his crew did, in the words of the judge, create a monster but I seriously believe that if the goal of the RIAA is to stop widespread distribution of digital music, this lawsuit is a moot point. Back in March, I talked about Gnutella, a Napster-like client/server applications that escaped from AOL‘s vaults. Since then, Gnutella use has increased, largely due to the fact that Napster was being sued and that Gnutella has no controlling authority. Since no one is officially in charge of Gnutella, no one can be sued. And since the service can’t be sued, it’s a much tougher one to deal with as far as the recording industry is…Read More