content strategy

Rumor: iPods and unlimited music

[ image courtesy of Mickipedia / Flickr ]

If you are like me, then you are following all things that are related to the iPhone and music.

If you are not, then you might be surprised to hear the rumors that Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, is having some discussions that would have some interesting repercussions for the European iPod market.

Following the lead of Nokia, Jobs is allegedly offering a fee paid to record labels to open up an all-you-can listen music buffet on the ubiquitous iPod.

While Nokia may have already negotiated a deal like this in the Euro market, they don’t have anywhere near the product saturation Apple enjoys. Jobs may be using this to his advantage; while Nokia’s fee paid to record labels is $80 for that all-you-can-listen-for-the-life-of-the-device plan, the Apple man has offered all of $20 for the same arrangement [allegedly]. I am sure a myriad of reasons are behind his $60-per-device discounted offer — the aforementioned market share, an unwillingness to tack on any more Euros that won’t end up in his shareholders’ pockets, and so on.

This is all fine and good, but as blogger and Inside Radio founder Jerry del Colliano says, don’t get too excited. This is for the European market, not the U.S. Given the intractable Mickey Mouse copyright laws and Draconian royalty schemes, this will not be happening anytime soon here. del Colliano argues that this isn’t even how people are looking to consume music, anyway.

I don’t think he or I are able to gauge what the the internet generation will prefer as their chief mode of music consumption. As quickly as things are changing, perhaps stating that things will go one way or another is a moot point; formats have come and go for 100 years, and consumer habits have changed along with them at every move. Technology, bandwidth, and royalty/copyright will always do battle. Laws will always be behind the curve, and the hurdle.

Should all of this prove to be untrue in the end, or partially true, as Apple rumors often are, we will know why all of the hype reached a fever pitch. This is kind of exciting. Major companies thinking in a way that takes into account what the users are already doing. All of the people engaging in file-sharing are already doing the all-you-can-eat deal. Deals like this make it monetized & legal, above ground & advertise-able. With the iPod’s ubiquity, that could be a big deal.