Little and Big Music Disagree On 'iTunes Match'
iTunes Match was Steve Jobs' "One More Thing at WWDC this year. It allows users to get the same backup and "download anywhere" benefits from legitimate iTunes purchases as well as any other music they might have, regardless of where it was acquired. Or, as All Things Digital's Peter Kafka put it:
Apple will take the songs you've stolen, and turn them into legit files, with big music's blessing.
Big music might have agreed to Apple's pirate amnesty scheme, but little music may not fall in line quite so quietly.
Rob Sevier, owner of Chicago-based Numero Group -- a tiny record label that specializes in old Soul music -- thinks iTunes Match is a raw deal. In a chat with Ars Technica's Chris Foresman, Sevier explained the effect of piracy on a small record label like Numero.
[M]any of Numero's releases sell in the range of about 10,000 copies total, including physical and digital formats. Yet, the label has found copies of tracks from its albums on sharing sites such as MediaFire or RapidShare with download counts that far exceed sales numbers.
"People will rip your album and upload them, and you can see how many people are downloading it," Sevier explained. "And in some cases people are downloading our stuff like 80,000 times or more. We have seen, on average, anything from 10 to 20 times more downloads than legitimate sales."
"There's no way that we're not going to see matching that exceeds what we're selling legitimately," Sevier said.
This is nothing new. Six years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that Grokster and StreamCast "induced users to violate copyrights and chose not to take the simple steps available to prevent it." The Economist, writing about the case in 2005, noted "the challenge for content providers is to use new technology to create value for customers, and to make those who use content illegally feel bad about it."
If, as Sevier claims, Match is bad for the artist and the record company, then it must be good for the consumer. Sevier, for one, thinks so:
[iTunes Match is] brilliant. I will definitely use the free version since I'll be able to access all of the stuff I've bought from iTunes and not have to permanently store it all on my computer.
But clearly some of the big record execs like it too. Labels hope iTunes Match will supply them with three important things: Some amount of revenue for pirated music is better than nothing; labels will get more feedback about the types of music that consumers are listening to; and, they hope, iTunes Match will get customers into the habit of paying for music again -- at least in a subscription form.
Top Rated Comments
Remember a lot of us were alive during the transition from CDs to iTunes. That means a lot of us have thousands of songs purchased legally imported into iTunes. It also means people are covered if they bought them from an alternative service like Amazon. People are going to steal regardless. This is a big plus for the honest folk out there.
so.... people download free stuff more than stuff you have to pay for
this Rob Sevier guy is a freaking genius
just because people are willing to download something for free does not mean they would have paid for it
its kind of like apps in the app store, I try free crap all the time but that does not mean I would have paid for it if they decided to charge for it
when it comes to paid apps i am fairly selective
It really sounds too good to be true... that you can have Apple scan your "less-than-legal" music downloads and let you have fresh clean copies of those songs sent to your iDevices.
On the other hand... you're paying for that service... and I bet a big portion of that fee is given to the record labels.
The record labels currently get ZERO dollars if you just sync those illegal songs with a USB cable... so maybe this is their way of trying to get something...
INCORRECT! iTunes Match gives you the EXACT SAME benefits as (1) but for music obtained elsewhere. Whether you got it from Amazon, ripped a CD or pirated it, it gives you a 256Kbps AAC copy from iTunes (if that's better than the copy you have) AND lets you download to all your devices, exactly the same as if you purchased it from iTunes. There is NO streaming. No dent in your 5GB storage, because it's just giving you access to iTunes tracks for free.
This will never happen.
Yes, it will! A bunch of friends won't "cobble together" anything. It's $25 bucks and it only works on a certain number of devices. $25 is not a lot of money. THERE IS NO STREAMING. Only downloading.
Again, no streaming. You keep all the files that you have downloaded, and stop getting access to iCloud backup of your songs until you pay $25 again. The files don't have DRM. They are 100% identical to the tracks you get from iTunes.
Good question. It seems pretty silly. Gotta be an oversight.
You're wrong. It's a "download" service. No streaming. At all. None.
If you're right, I'll pay for your first year of iTunes Match. There is no streaming.
All iTunes Match does is add your existing music to iCloud, and treats it the same as any music you have purchased from iTunes.