Earlier this year, Steve Jobs wrote an essay saying that DRM should be abolished. Some people called it hypocritical because Apple has always been tenacious with protecting patents, but I think it shows a genuine frustration with the record labels and the growth of alternative forms of music distribution. Since Apple is the leader of alternative forms of music distribution thanks to their iTunes Music Store, any move that makes music more free seems to benefit apple.
A few months later, Apple partnered with EMI to release DRM-free downloads, but rumors are suggesting that Jobs will take things a step further by partnering with Hip-Hop Mogul Shawn Carter, who you probably know better as Jay-Z to form their own record label. Some people are going to look at this deal and wonder what Jobs was doing, because despite Jay-Z’s success as a business man and performing artist, there will be some negative connotations to his style of music. However, there is a lot of potential in this deal.
Taking a look at iTunes demographics, I think Apple made a savvy move. Although their new label might only be a drop in the bucket at first, there is a potential for Beyonce to join, and if they are successful, I could see other successful bands willing to do think differently about how they make their albums. In the meantime, Apple will be building their brand with some of the most recognizable names in pop culture. Even better, they get to stick it to Universal (Jay-Z) and Sony (Beyonce) at the same time.
— Joe Fahs
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