Music

Apple changes its iTune- good for consumers and labels?

Barring the appearance of Apple overlord Steve Jobs, who had to assure the market that he's just got a hormone problem (which kept the company's stock buoyant), the big announcement at Macworld was not about any new gizmo to rival or update the iPhone but some changes in iTunes as their big attention getter at their last appearance at the fest. In their battle with the big labels, Apple finally decided to cave in and offer 'flexible' pricing, which means that hot new hits will cost more than 99 cents/song while less sought-after olders may be priced lower. The labels figured that the laws of supply and demand would work in their favor this way rather than the easy one-size-fits-all model that Apple's touted since it started their music service.

For Apple, it will likely change very little since they were making tiny profits actually selling songs- their dough comes from sales of their sleak little gadgets (iPhone, iPod, etc..). For the labels, it'll be interesting to see how much this change effects their bottom line, if it does at all. You can maybe assume that most iTunes users won't jump ship unless the pricing gets too high for the songs but since iTunes is the biggest online music seller now, the change will definitely help the labels rake in more money. But will it be enough to keep them afloat?

The other big news about changes in the iTunes model is that the songs offered there won't have DRM anymore. That means that they can get transferred freely and without any restrictions from one device to another to any computer to anywhere else. That would be great news for the people who are gonna start buying now but what about all the chumps that already bought iTunes songs with the DRM on them? Are they gonna be able to automatically get the same songs from iTunes without the DRM now? Doubtful. That might lead some resentful users to find their songs from other sources, especially ones that the labels don't approve of. As such, maybe Macworld will miss Apple at their conferences but some of their users might not.

UPDATE: Apple is offering uses the chance to convert their old DRM-tagged songs that they've bought from iTunes to be stripped of the copy protection for 30 cents a song. Jobs and friends really should know better than to fleece consumers like that.

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image