Poor Steve Jobs is getting chased at from all directions. Everyone wants to knock down his dominance of online music sales. The problem is that while there’s a lot of competition heating up, they’re not necessarily poised to kill off iTunes.
Apple now has the following companies lined up against it to try to compete for download bucks: Wal-Mart, MTV/Real and Universal/Sony/Google. And that’s just what’s been announced in the last few days. In addition, they now have publishers and artists looking to cash in more too. Even with all of these big powerful companies battling Jobs and friends, Apple’s carved out too big a slice of the legal download market to be taken down so easily. They have an uphill battle on their hands for sure and you’d be hard pressed to bet against Apple at this point.
However… at some point Apple will tumble down. It won’t be because they make a monumental mistake (though that’s not out of the question) but more likely because some other, more appealing, few new paradigm is gonna come rolling down the tech road. So far, these other competitors are just hoping that their brand names, reach and bucks will topple Apple but that usually never impresses consumers. Apple’s got an established, easy-to-use package that goes along with the nifty little device they also sell, all of which the competition can’t offer. Yet. Instead of thinking of nifty new services that essentially do the same as the others, maybe these companies should pare up with an electronic manufacturer to create a nifty new device to go along with it. And then maybe they could put together a DRM-free system that has more features that we haven’t seen before- more support for album art, notes plus the ability to customize the package (artwork, track order and selection) and maybe for the later, let some of these designs be available for others to access (which would have to be worked out with some kind of agreement for the user to sign away or maybe even share in the rewards with free extra downloads if it’s popular enough). Just off the top of my head but you get the idea. Or maybe the competition gets the idea. We’ll see…
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.