TuneCore CEO Says Apple Just Monetized Pirated Music, Reset Music Industry

image from Apple’s new free iCloud and $24.99 a year iTunes Match, "marries the two disparate ideas of consumer convenience and the monetization of pirated music, providing what could be the 'missing links' between consumers, artists, labels, music publishers and the emerging digital music industry," according to Tunecore CEO Jeff Price. "With its launch, the odometer on the music industry is about to reset itself (again)..And the results, I believe, will be stunning."

Apple's iCloud differs significantly fom Amazon and Google music storage lockers into which users have to upload all their songs. But the most radical part of iTunes Match, according to Price, is that now rightsholders can "make money off of music not bought the first time around".  Announced today, iTunes Match puts all music from a subscriber into an iCloud account, making it available to stream or re-download.  This includes music that was:

  • Bought on iTunes
  • Ripped from a CD
  • Downloaded via p2p
  • Ripped from a friend
  • Downloaded free and legally from a band
  • Grabbed from an mp3 blog
  • Bought on AmazonMP3 or any other download store
  • Etc, etc, etc….

All re-downloads, points out Price, will be downloadable in the AAC format, meaning that "they will only play on an Apple device, driving more dependence of Apple’s products."

"And finally, and perhaps more importantly," concludes Price, "just as the original Napster trained people to download music and listen to it on their computers, Apple, due to its vast hardware proliferation (iPhones in particular) is in a position to shift consumer behavior yet again – this time from downloading music to listening to it via streams."

More: iTunes Match & iTunes In The Cloud – Apple Takes Cloud Music To A New Level


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  1. Major Error regarding AAC limitation. I play AAC tracks on all sorts of other devices, including my Droid X android phone. It’s a codec, and was not developed by Apple. The first AAC device I ever purchased was from Sony.
    AAC Codec Developers were: AT&T Bell Laboratories, Fraunhofer IIS, Dolby Laboratories, Sony Corporation and Nokia. – per wiki
    And yes, I’m selling my CD collection after I get signed up.

  2. Good luck getting people who steal music to pay $24.99.
    Google still crushes with free music model of

  3. Jeff,
    Although lacking a little detail (and the AAC error), well put, sir.
    I’ve now been in the industry for 18 years like you have, and I too see one clear effect:
    Love them or hate them, Apple is revolutionizing two industries at once, music AND computing. Ask tech people, not the average music listener (or Mac haters). Technology like this makes it easier for all to buy more music much like Tunecore has and more importantly music in a high-quality file format.
    The sad part of technology growth like this is that so many people (those who “listen” to youtube or “streaming” music and are satisfied with poor sound quality) do not know real high fidelity and breed a mentality that allows for the exchange of poor sound quality, probably much more of an insult to the artist who recorded it than losing the $.39 cents he would’ve received via a purchase/sale versus a “theft.”
    The only funny part is the people (most likely the same ones who here write negative comments) who hang on to old ways (and lesser technologies) only lose out themselves.
    Thank you for changing the industry for the better yourself. You may be giving a keynote like this before long.
    ps If you think I missed the piracy point, I did not. You might need to re-read.

  4. and so i should be subject to pauses based on bandwidth, inability to access my music if servers crash, and listening forever to lossy formats… that have been re-encoded no less? yeah, i’ll pass.

  5. isn’t there an inherent problem with this new service – in that the music stored in the cloud still has to be downloaded onto your device – there is no streaming. so although you have a nice cloud backup with iTunes Match, the new service totally fails to deal with the issue of limited storage on mobile devices. or am I wrong?

  6. ha ha, fan boy post mate. Just because people write negative comments here do you think they really miss out?
    Seriously, I own CDs, I own vinyl, I own mp3s ripped from my CDs. I listen from my computer and on my mp3 player. I’m not missing out on anything, plus I won’t have to deal with buffering or being apart of Jobs’ control freakery. I’m just not a sheep jumping onto a bandwagon that’s rolling along for it’s own benefit whilst everyone running behind it thinking it’ll benefit them is going to get a little shafted.
    Oh, and not an Apple hater, I work with a pro Mac, just aren’t an acolyte and see beyond the Spin. This ain’t saving anything, sorry, though if it gets you hard then great, you go girl.

  7. I think I’ll wait this one out and see how it works for some other nerds.

  8. all this does for me is hopefully it’ll upgrade the iTunes files i bought before iTunes plus existed. then it will only cost me $25 to upgrade those tracks versus paying for each track to be upgraded. i’ll wait and see what other’s experience is before trying it. i have 45.8 gigs of music uploaded to the google beta and about 5 uploaded to amazon. i like google better… and it plays all files purchased through iTunes, save the ones that are protected AAC files, just fine.

  9. I don’t know why everybody trusts on their computers. Eventually they’ll crash. It doesn’t matter if you have the latest of the latest and the cutting edge computer in your hands, there’s always the chance to crash!
    So, why don’t you show some love to your favorite bands and buy the physical copy of your music? There’s more than meets the eye and you’re supporting others involved in the making of an album: artists, engineers, cd makers, vinyl makers, etc. If your computer crashes and so your backup memory, then you just come back to your CD, vinyl, etc., and rip it to your computer. You want audio quality? Get the physical copy of your music.
    I don’t like anyone controlling what I want to see or listen to, it doesn’t matter if it’s the best in the market. There’s pros & cons in Mac, and gosh do I love its pros: I work with a Macbook, have 2 ipods, and 1 iphone, just to realize my options are limited to what Mr. I wants us to see.

  10. So the plan is that you can stream you music on the cloud….yet all these cell phone companies have limited data plan? Correct me if I’m wrong

  11. I don’t think you are wrong. All Steve talked about was downloading to devices, not streaming. That means lower bandwidth costs for Apple, and more money selling larger-capacity iThings. Win Win! (Apple) lose (me)
    Haven’t tried this yet, but I don’t have room on my iPhone or iPad for my iTunes library. Has anybody worked this out?

  12. @Mike Hagler: You won’t need to pay $25/year to hear your iTunes-purchased tracks, you’ll be DLing higher quality versions of tracks you bought=win!
    @Carlos: there is no streaming, just downloading, which you can do on your home network, or anywhere there’s free wi-fi=win!
    @artists and labels: Since there is no streaming there are no streaming royalties,and therefore, no monetization of piracy=win! However, no royalties might also=”No soup for you!”
    It remains to be seen whether artists/indies will see any of that $24.99/yr fee. Lessee, 250 million iTunes subscribers, times $24.99…maybe they take pity and cut the writers and artists in for some of that potential 625 billion. I won’t hold my breath. 😀

  13. If past history is any indication, the only people who will benefit from this are the corporate suits. The creators of the music will find themselves once again ripped off. In the music game, the distributor holds all the cards and doesn’t have to pay unless they’re sued. This is just another big company grabbing a piece of the distribution pie.

  14. first off, youtube has terrible music quality compared to a normal digital file you would download at 320kbps. it has been compressed for better streaming, and thus loses its dynamic range. download something from a rip-from-youtube site, then listen to an actual copy (both at high volume) and you will notice a huge difference in the dynamice range. So no, youtube does not crush them, at least for those who care about what they listen to
    As far as people who steal music paying 24.99 a year… I am a POOR POOR college student barely able to buy anything but food and I would gladly pay 24.99 a month if the artists could see even a penny for anything I have downloaded p2p. If I had the money, I would buy every song at full price because artists and labels need the money now more than ever in this failing industry. So if I can afford 24.99 a year, I’m sure as hell there are a lot more out there that would be willing to pay that to make up for the giant gash they have caused in the industry

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