Thoughts on Music

02007-02-06 | Computer, Internet, Music, Technology | 8 comments

Apple – Thoughts on Music
Steve Jobs – February 6, 2007

Agreed. A great open letter from Steve Jobs.

EMI (who own Virgin, Higher Octave, Narada, Blue Note etc.) declared a little while ago that they will stop manufacturing CDs with DRM, which they were selling in Europe and were getting in trouble for. Personally, I don’t buy from iTunes because of DRM and the sound quality. I think Jon has purchased quite a number of songs from iTunes, but that’s because he often searches for a specific song and does not want to buy the full album.

I think the writing is on the wall… Which one of the big companies will take the first step?

What should a download store be like, you ask. Like our ListeningLounge, of course:
1. No DRM
2. Full Previews (not just 30 seconds)
3. Choice of quality – from 128kbps to 320kbps and all the way to uncompressed AIFF.

You can really find everything on Wikipedia…


  1. Eno

    There are 2 dj stores that I go to online( and Both of which offer samples and a choice of format (mp4, mp4, wav). This not only makes it convenient but also pratical. I appreciate stores like the listening lounge which take it a step further by allowing to listen to the entire song first.

    You are truly ahead of the curve!

  2. Curt

    I agree with items 2 and 3 (especially item 3!!) but I kinda support DRM. I think an artist should have the right to be compensated for each purchase of a piece of their art. Sure, it’s easy enough for the more technical-minded to convert a DRM file into an unprotected mp3 but why make it easy for them?

  3. anna

    Ottmar, I tell anyone who will listen about Listening Lounge. Mostly people ask about the compression ratio.

    Curt, since Ottmar does it, then why not everyone else????

  4. anna

    I’ve often wondered about iTunes sound quality.

    I don’t want to find a song I like and then find that it sounds terrible, hence I’ve been getting complete CDs from Amazon.

  5. Curt


    I can’t answer that question… personally, I haven’t reached a level of success with my music to a point where I could afford to allow people (or want people to have) free access to my compositions. Call it greed, perhaps? Or maybe the financial reward is my measurement of success? I think it would be much easier to “let go” once I had the freedoms in life that come with a certain level of finacial security. I know of a few artists that I think could reap HUGE financial rewards for their music and they actually give it away – or donate all proceeds to charity (GNOMUSY, for one).

    Anyhoo, this might explain why some would want every dime out of their work and why others may not. Your question as to “why not everyone” might simply be answered by saying that everyone is different.

    Regarding iTunes – I find that I buy a lot of albums from that site because I do most (if not ALL) of my listening lately on my iPod. I don’t have an “audiophile” grade system that would probably reveal the limitations of the lower bitrates the iTunes tracks come in. Strange as this may be – as a composer I find that the audio quality of the music I listen to isn’t that important (however, 128kbps is as low as I can tolerate) but the audio quality of the music that I compose is critical!

  6. Brad

    I’m a bit late on this one, but as it is still related, bear with me.

    Slashdot ran a story today about EMI’s next big thing. They are looking at selling their entire catalog to the public, in MP3 format, WITHOUT DRM. As they are the parent company of Higher Octave, would this essentially put you out of any compensation for your music to be sold, or would EMI collect the revenue from it? Also, as far as your portion of the catalog, do you own it, or them? If them, it would be really weird to see them sell your material, they collect on it (yet again), while you’re left out cold…


  7. Anna

    Curt, I am not sure that iTunes files are at 128kbps. The smaller the file the lower number of kbps, thats why Apple always mention higher number of iTunes you can store on the iPod.

    Curt, some artists offer one or two mp3s (free) with the CD that you purchase.
    I don’t see financial position as a measure of success, not in any industry. Your success would show in your faithful followers / fans (if you like).
    You do realise that you will be remembered for the good you do…

  8. Music fan

    I never buy albums anymore just singles from itunes and never noticed if the quallity was bad or not, its allways sounded ok to me


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