that Apple will team up with the record industry to launch a Mac-friendly music service. If so Apple CEO Steve Jobs should “think differently” Alex Salkever opines in the latest
“Byte of the Apple” column
for Business Week Online.
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According to the rampant speculation, an Apple music service would at least be on a par with such PC-only sites as MusicNet, Listen.com, and PressPlay. This means Mac users could listen to libraries of music for a monthly fee in the US$10 range or pay around $1 to download a tune and burn it to a CD, Salkever writes.
“A Mac-centric online-music venture would fill a hole in Apple’s digital-hub strategy by giving Mac users a legal means to enjoy downloaded digital music,” he adds. “This compares to the distinctly illicit pleasures of KaZaA and other pirate file-swapping systems — until now, the only choice for Apple owners. In addition, a handful of cheap programs have allowed iPod users to override the paper-thin copyright-protection mechanisms on the portable music players that are supposed to prevent the devices from downloading songs on multiple computers.”
If Apple does launch its own music service, the columnist thinks it should include:
One-click downloads and total portability;
No copyright protection on downloaded songs;
No limits to the number and type of songs a user can burn onto a CD;
An established, demand-based pricing system with “floating” pricing that actually establishes variable market prices based on how many people are downloading a song.
Salkever also has a suggestion that he admits will probably never happen. He calls it “The 20 Percent Club.”
“Basically, artists who received fair deals from their labels would gain membership to the club,” Salkever explains. “By fair, I mean the artist receives 20 percent of all revenues derived from sales of music after the label has recovered its recording and promotional costs. All members of the club would get a big logo button, or something like that, on the Apple site.”