Death by anecdote
Sven Rafferty declares the iTunes Store a fad that will be killed by CDs.
Apple is up against a difficult problem before it. DRM. What to do about it.
Uh… well… put.
While the most lenient in the business, it still won’t let you play it on other non-iPod devices such as Creative’s offering or the home entertainment system by Sonos.
OK, one more time for the slower students in the class: that’s how Apple tries to keep you buying iPods. That’s their business model. They make it inconvenient – but not impossible – to move your music to another player.
They also just make cool players.
This is starting to become an issue not just with techies but with regular non-technical users as well. I’ve already heard a few people tell me they went back to buying CDs because, “It won’t play on my [insert hardware device here].”
The anecdotal evidence is incontrovertible! The iTunes Store will fail!
With such a change in current, Apple will start to see its sales level off at the Store.
Really? And that’s supposed to start, what, now? Just because “a few people” told you they were going back to buying CDs? Did people just suddenly become aware there’s DRM, even though it’s been on every song ever downloaded from iTunes?
Sure, the lazy at heart may still go with a quick download here and there…
…but for the most part, you’ll start seeing more and more CDs being purchased (or visits to AllofMP3)…
Stop. Stop. Stop.
…as more users become aware of Apple’s desire not to share FairPlay with others.
Sven uses the example of Beck’s latest release The Information to try to prove his point. He says you can easily buy the CD for $12.99 – presumably from a brick and mortar outlet – compared to $11.99 on iTunes. He derides the videos as “cheesy” and says “no one cares about those”, probably because he doesn’t realize the CD actually comes with a DVD with the videos on it.
But let us conjecture two possible purchasing scenarios.
- A customer buys Beck’s album off the iTunes Store and burns it to a CD. Cost: $11.99 + 50 cents for the CD media = $12.49. Elapsed time: maybe an hour for the download and the burn.
- A customer goes out to the store and buys the CD and included DVD. Cost: $12.99. Elapsed time: maybe an hour if he doesn’t stop at Starbucks.
Now, the results are not exactly the same as you can’t burn the videos to DVD via iTunes. But nobody cares about those, right Sven? (In this instance there is some backup for that as the videos are not studio productions, but lower-quality home-made stuff.) But you end up with a DRM-free copy of the music for 50 cents less from iTunes and, more importantly, you didn’t have to get off your ass to do it.
While Sven is apparently against the vice of sloth, he also has a problem with the virtue of thrift. Possibly he’s a Presbyterian.
Truth is, the iPod will not be number one for ever and when that happens…
Intelligent chimps will rule the Earth?
…Apple will no longer make money off of the iTunes Store as other venues for the other players will be available.
Unlike now, when no other venues for purchasing music online for other players are available.
Further, as additional music lovers become more frustrated with DRM in the coming months…
What is so freakin’ special about the next few months? Is it DRM Awareness Dayz or something? Is Cory Doctorow going door-to-door to tell YOU about the evils of DRM? WHAT?!
…they, too, will find themselves back in Target, Wal-mart, or online at Amazon, purchasing hard copy material as they once did in the ancient times of the digital frontier.
Because a couple of dudes Sven knows are doing that. And Rick is, like, a total trend-setter. He had a troll patch way before they were cool.
Until that happens, legitimate stores such as Apple’s iTunes Store will see a leveling and most likely a spike in illegal downloads…along with some rise in hard copy sales. Maybe. Hopefully, however, Apple will be smart enough to avoid this and really play fair.
Look, it’s FairPlay that brought the record companies to the table in the first place. Without FairPlay, the iTunes Store wouldn’t exist. But Apple also benefits from FairPlay. The reason you can’t play a FairPlay-protected song on a Zune is the same reason you can’t use Schick blades on a Gillette handle.
If Sven and his buddies want to “stick it to the man” by buying CDs (wait, don’t the record companies want you buy CDs anyway?), that’s their business. But none of the rest of us really need to watch another episode of “The Anecdote That Crushed Cupertino”.