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Sasquatch! Music Festival 2007

Steve Jobs Forces The MP3 Debate Wide Open


By: Spacelab Research Staff
Before anyone gets into issues like music should be free or artists should compensated for their music or digital rights management or any of the other tangental issues, let's recognize one thing: last week, Steve Jobs threw the debate on MP3 and interoperability wide open from its state of being stuck.

In his now famous open letter, he started a fire that raged all of last week and has probably just started burning. The lack of interoperability on music stores and MP3 players is a major obstacle to progress. In order to take the next step forward, the major decision makers in the industry need to abandon their fears and move towards some kind of system that allows you to buy the player you want, shop at whatever online store you want, and have it all work together. Imagine what it would be like if you could only buy CD's made for especially for your brand of CD player! Music buying would be tough! Online buying is tough, for the same reason.

By calling for selling unrestricted MP3's Steve Jobs was actually saying put up or shut up. Either get all of your collective protectionist ideas together or drop the issue and just sell MP3's.

Change can be tough, but the music industry as a whole needs to start thinking harder about how to make money from music in the modern age. The old standards don't seem relevant anymore. Artists need to get paid, labels need a return on their investment, and the public needs easy access to the music; but the industry needs to abandon its fear and slowness to react. The modern age is about openness, innovation, and a more horizontal playing field. The longer they take to accept that fully, the more they hurt artists, their own ROI, and music fans.


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