Tuesday, February 13, 2007

MP3.com Founder Responds To Jobs

A plethora of individuals and organizations have responded publicly to Steve Jobs' "Thoughts on Music" since last week. Wired Magazine reports on one in particular by the MP3.com founder Michael Robertson, outlining four major challenges he posed to Jobs.
1. Sell MP3s on iTunes
Jobs can't sell major label content in unprotected formats, but nothing's stopping him from selling the CDBaby catalog and music from indie labels who don't mind the lack of DRM.

2. Open up the iPod to other software

Robertson wants Jobs to publish the database format used by the iPod so that other software developers can create software that loads music onto the iPod.

3. Allow other music stores into iTunes

He also wants Jobs to allow stores that sell MP3s to surface within the iTunes application (this would be easier than it might sound, since the iTunes store is basically a web page inside iTunes).
4. Make iTunes for Linux
Robertson reiterates his suggestion that Jobs make an iTunes that runs on Linux, and offers to contribute his own engineering resources -- should the project prove too expensive for Apple.

Point #1 seems improbably given Jobs' firm stance on variable pricing - he insists on a uniform experience for all iTunes users; selling DRM-free tracks alongside DRM'd major label content would result in consumer confusion - not gonna happen.

Point #2 is definitely not gonna happen. The basis of the Apple ecosystem is seamless compatibility between iPod + iTunes . . . doesn't seem likely to me.

Point #3 was by the far the most interesting to me. For instance, eMusic has the most extensive catalog of DRM-free independent music. In the world of P2P, this content is searchable alongside major label content, but in the legal download market, eMusic remains off to the side as a niche retailer. DRM-free downloads and lower prices aside, I think one centralized search engine for all content is a necessity to compete with P2P.

Point #4 - I don't use Linux, but I'm sure Cory would appreciate it.

(Via Wired)

No comments: