iTunes' Fifth (B-day) Shows Why It's First
Why Competition Won't Beat Apple, and Time for a Name Change?


by Joe Leo, Columnist


NEWS / COMMENTARY: 4.28.08-- It was on this day five years ago that the iTunes Music Store was born. "Has it been five years already? On our fifth anniversary, we're taking a look back at all of the great music, video, and exclusives you first discovered on iTunes, highlighting the songs and shows that defined each year. This is where it all began."

"Launching on April 28, 2003, the iTunes Music Store offered an easy way to download the music you love for $0.99 a song with no subscription fees." And the beat goes on...

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On the home "page" of iTunes is a special link in blue which takes you to another page which says "iTunes turns 5" followed by the years 2003 to 2007, with each year featuring the best of the best songs/videos that were downloaded by users that specific year.

"We had more than 200,000 songs and a handful of exclusive tracks. (Today we've got more than 10 million)..."

10 million. Imagine that. And they said that this idea would never last. Some said it was Apple's answer to all those PC-only based music services. It was for awhile, but Steve Jobs said a Windows-compatible version would be out soon, and thank the lucky stars he did because--as we all might like to hate to admit it--had he not, they wouldn't be No. 1 right now.

Plus, the fact that you apply Apple, Inc.'s tried-and-true (but still criticized by many) formula of, we create the hardware, software, and support, or as CNET.com said in their coverage back in 2003, "The new Mac-based service is also integrated tightly with the company's iTunes music software and the popular iPod MP3 player..."

"...an advantage that no other music service has had to date."

The other being the model Apple chose, or rather, Steve Jobs chose for the iTunes Music Store. Instead of being a subscription-based service which others at the time were failing with, and ironically, per-song based services were failing because of price (i.e., $2.99 or $4.99 per download-- which doesn't add up based on the price of a CD album), it's success was due to?

According to PCWorld.com's coverage that day, "'People want to buy downloads like they buy CDs,' Jobs said. That's why Apple went to the five major music labels (BMG, Sony, EMI, Warner, and Universal) and cut deals to offer their songs online."

Very much true. In fact (or opinion), the iPod first came out in 2001 and the "only" way to get music on to it at the time was from your own CDs which you would "rip" from and upload to your computer via the pre-Music Store version of the iTunes software, with Apple hoping that you were using only your own legally-owned CDs for doing so.

The other irony is what PCWorld.com attributed the predicted success of the iTunes Music Store to. Apple's low presence and market share at the time. In an inteview with Rob Enderle, well-known market analyst, Enderle said that a major reason the major labels agreed to this project, when they didn't before, is because of Steve Jobs's ties in the entertainment field.

The second sounds more like an insult, though no harm taken in present day.

PCWorld.com said, "One, because the service is available first to Mac owners only, it's a manageable number of users, he said. 'This is a very limited group--if they [the music companies] don't like it they can pull back,' he said."

Pull back? They just kept on coming. Today, we don't need any proof, as with the announcement made in January of this year at Macworld 2008, with movie rentals at the iTunes Store, with five major studios having signed aboard. (And that 10 million figure mentioned up above).


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