Apple chief blasts labels

By | March 4, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Steve Jobs is pleased to have been awarded a Grammy by the recording industry last Wednesday night, for technical achievements in music for Apple Computer. But that doesn’t stop him from criticising record labels’ efforts in digital distribution. Jobs complained that the digital music services backed by the labels don’t make it easy for consumers to burn tracks from CDs they buy.

“No one is going to use such services,” Jobs says.

“If you legally acquire music, you need to have the right to manage it on all other devices that you own.”

The lesson of Napster, which popularised unauthorised music-sharing on the Internet, had more to do with convenience than the fact users could get music free of charge, in Jobs’ view. “We believe that over 80percent of people are willing to pay,” he says. “But there is no one offering you a choice.”

Apple has tried to chart a middle course in the music-distribution debate with its iPod portable music player. The company’s software does not prevent users from filling up the device with tracks they may have obtained illegally, which is pretty much impossible to do, Jobs says. But each device synchronises with only one copy of Apple’s iTunes software, making it impossible to effectively use iPod to transfer songs from computer to computer. “You can’t use it as a piracy shuttle,” Jobs says.

Apple’s Grammy is for technical contributions to the music industry and recording, believed to be a first for a PC company.

But Jobs believes the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which awards the Grammys, was also influenced by the piracy-limiting features of iPod. Wall

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