John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Amazon Announces Steve Jobs Memorial 'Thoughts on Music' MP3 Store

jobsbuysong.jpgIn the final paragraph of his February 2007 essay, “Thoughts On Music,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that should the top four music labels allow their music to be sold online without DRM (digital rights management) technology, it would “create a truly interoperable music marketplace”–one that Apple would embrace “wholeheartedly.”

Well, it’s taken nearly a year, but the marketplace to which Jobs referred is nearly here. Only it’s not at Apple’s iTunes store. It’s at Amazon.

Yesterday afternoon Sony BMG said it will begin selling DRM-free music through Amazon.com MP3 at the end of this month. That makes it the last of the “Big Four” music labels to abandon DRM and begin distributing its catalog through Amazon. “This is such an exciting day for us and our customers,” Bill Carr, vice president for digital music at Amazon, told the New York Times. “All four major labels will be part of our service. It means our customers will really have access to all the biggest artists in the world.”

Which is obviously great news for Amazon’s fledgling music service and for the major music companies as well. What better way to rein in Apple’s dominant iTunes store than by empowering its worthiest adversary–if only for a moment. Because chances are, Apple was planning on taking iTunes totally DRM-free at Macworld next week anyway. Which may make this a bit of a non-announcement, at least as far as Apple is concerned. Said Pali Capital analyst Richard Greenfield: “My guess is that Apple doesn’t care. The reality is, everyone will now start downloading their songs more cheaply someplace else and using them on their iPods.”


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald