Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Apple hooks up with Snow Patrol

In a bid to make the prospect of a new Snow Patrol album even more thrilling, Polydor and Apple are launching a superspecial iPhone app, reports Music Week:

The application, which will be downloadable online, will enable fans to access a raft of extra content including artwork, behind-the-scenes images and lyrics via the touch screen of their handsets, marking the first time a music artist has made use of the iPhone’s extra capabilities.

If you think that sentence suggests a tenuous grasp on the technology underpinning the marketing idea, you might be right. Music Week continues:
The popularity of the iPhone and iPod Touch homescreen applications has shot up in recent months as consumers look for ways to customise their handsets.

You don't think, perhaps, the increasing popularity of apps "in recent months" might have more to do with, erm, the launch of the apps store on July 10th and them suddenly becoming available, then?

Meanwhile, Bruce Houghton at Hypebot has worked himself up into a state:
if labels allow Steve Jobs to control content delivery vehicle then only iPhone and iTouch users will experience all that an artist is trying to convey. New album cover applications must be multi-platform and open source or the music industry risks a repeat of Apple's pre-mp3 stranglehold on music sales.

Apple had a pre-mp3 stranglehold on music sales? Back in 1997? Or does Houghton mean "before mp3 stores became widely available, because the music industry was too afraid to sell files that weren't wrapped up in DRM?

Apple weren't strangleholding the market while the music industry prayed for a more open standard - the industry deliberately chose to ignore an option that would have handed back a little more control to the customer; if Apple strangled them, it was consenual erotic asphyxiation.

Houghton does have a point - it would be much happier for everyone if this new stuff was available in an open format instead of being tied to a single brand or store, but for that to happen, the record labels would have to accept that their extra-value material would be published in a way that people could take it and use it and share it on without payment. It's hard to see why, given the current mindset of the big labels, they'd invest cash in developing stuff designed to persuade people to buy an official download only for the exclusivity to evaporate in the same way that of the original song had, too.

Still, Houghton is clearly alarmed, even appending a message to the foot of his blog post:
SPREAD THE WORD: PLEASE DIGG, STUMBLE & EMAIL THIS POST

Yes! Email it to ten people, and instruct them to reply to you with details of the ten people they've emailed it to within the hour, or the music industry will DIE. It's a plan for a label to try a pilot scheme which basically involves tacking a couple of extra files onto a digital download. It doesn't quite require the caps lock urgency of a call to petition for a stay of execution for a prisoner to be killed at sun down.


3 comments:

Spence said...

"The application, which will be downloadable online..."

Downloadable online? Damn! I was hoping to get one in my newspaper.

Peter S. said...

Huh. Funny, I always thought those bastard record stores had the pre-MP3 stranglehold.

Olive said...

f labels allow Steve Jobs to control content delivery vehicle then only iPhone and iTouch users will experience all that an artist is trying to convey. New album cover applications must be multi-platform and open source or the music industry risks a repeat of Apple's pre-mp3 stranglehold on music sales.

Whenever I hear a major player in the music industry talking about open source I just want to give them a lollipop.

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