Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Real CEO: iPod owners are thieves

This simply cannot be a good marketing strategy from the CEO of Real Networks, Rob Glaser.
If you want interoperable music today, there is a very easy solution: it's called stealing. The average number of songs sold for the iPod is 25, and there are many more songs on iPods than 25. About half the music on iPods is music obtained illegitimately either from an illegal peer-to-peer networks or from ripping friends' CDs, which is illegal.

Well done, matey: calling your potential customers thieves is really going to endear you to them, eh? I actually find that quite offensive, so let's have a look at what's on my iPod, shall we. Well, it'll be my entire iTunes collection which counts up as follows:
  1. Total number of songs: 3,543

  2. Total number legally purchased songs: 102

  3. Total number illegally-ripped songs: 0

So, where, Rob, have the additional 3,441 songs come from, do you think? Hmmm? Go on, have a guess. Yes, Rob, that's right: music that I have bought on CD and quite legally own (and am allowed to make a copy of under Fair Use laws), you thick fuck. There's fuck-all illegal on my iPod, you twerp, because I don't need to have any.

But, Rob continues on his theme and, assuming that he is right (which I don't think that he is), puts his finger on why people might not download music legal sources.
But it's the only way to get non-copy protected, portable, interoperable music.

Yup, it that Digital Rights Management that puts people off, I think you'll find.
It is ironic that the subheading to the piece should be this:
Fresh from settling an anti-trust suit with Microsoft, the chief executive of Real Networks, Rob Glaser, outlines the company's strategy for success in the digital downloading market.

Mainly because Real Networks have not had, well, any real success in the digital downloading market. Of course, on models like that of Real Networks' music store, there is an additional bind (other than the DRM): on iTunes, you pay your 79p and you own that track (and you can quite easily remove the DRM) just as you would a physical CD. On Real, you pay a monthly rent and you get—and I'm happy to admit this—access to their entire music catalogue. But here's the rub: stop paying your rent (or your internet connection drops), and then you no longer have access to any of the songs. You know, I think that I will stick with iTunes: at least I know that I'll still be able to listen to a particular song even if I'm financially a bit short this month...

For a beautiful and very detailed fisking of Glaser and his rampant stupity (and dubious knowledge of copyright law), please read John's piece at Daring Fireball.


Druss said...

Got to be the bigest cock up since that Mr Ratner made the comment about his goods being crap.

Just wait till he starts getting flack off irate iPod owners over this and watch him backpedal...

Anonymous said...

Great minds think alike again. I was having a go about the music industry over the weekend:

Copyright Infringement

I said much the same as you about ripping my own, paid for music CDs.

The Moai said...

I am sure I am not the only one who has no downloaded music on his MP3 player *at all* - it is a mobile repository for my vast CD collection.

What a gimp.

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