By Moses Avalon

What is it about Apple? When it comes to Apple, we, as an industry, cannot seem to think straight.

Is it love or lust?

When we’re in love we can’t see faults in the objects of our desire. They seem perfect. Lust is different. In lust, we see the faults and ignore them. The tactile pleasure created by our proximity outweighs the fact that this person is completely inappropriate. No mater how much they embarrass us, we go home with them anyway, leaving via the back door.

So what up with Apple? This company is single-handedly steamrollering over our industry like a scorched earth campaign. Yet, we continue to patronize them. Even I own several iPods and Apple TV. It’s embarrassing. Is it because we can’t help but love their gadgets? Is it the basic black or white design? The cool ads where they try to make PC users look “old fashioned?”

All the above?

Do we see the herpes on their lip but make out with them anyway? Or do we really not, even after all this time, see why this company is music business unfriendly.

Case in point: while just about every mobile company and web service has conformed to the option of a subscription model– which many experts (including this one) agree will rejuvenate the retail sales part of the business, Apple refuses to adapt their devices to be subscription complainant. And since they service 85% of the player market, this is a very big deal in the US.

Across the pond things are quite different. UK and European content companies are partnering with Mobile companies to deliver music “free,” bundled into your phone bill. You pay for it but you don’t feel it. It’s already put billions into their music business coffers. Plus, over in the old country, iPods are sooo expensive that I observed many people who used their cell phone as a music player.

But in the US, Apple seems to get bigger and bigger by the day. Better stuff, cooler interfaces and cheaper prices than ever before.

Are we just the Ugly American when it comes to Apple?

I’m scared, folks. Truly. If we allow our lust with this company to continue, we may find that someday soon labels will be meeting with Apple execs to ask THEM how WE should be making music.

EMI is there. They are practically Apple’s bitch already. But, true to lust, they are too embarrassed to say it publicly. BMG may follow and with them, Warner. Sony and Universal will hold out for a good while. But in the end attrition might win out If so, we may see two music business in the making: the Apple side and the “everyone else” side.


Like any good mistress, we know they are bad for us, but we just can’t keep away.

–Written (but not proofed) and sent from a Apple store in Glendale California.

9 responses to “LUST APPLE LOVE”

  1. admin says:

    The most intelligent and balanced overview of the past 10 years that
    I have read to date. Good on ‘ya.

    Gary Cable
    Entertainment attorney

  2. admin says:

    Usually agree with a lot of what you say…..But think you missed most of the boat on this one. “Siding” with Napster (or whomever) would not have resulted in Anti-trust suits had it just been in the course of doing business with a retailer, I. e , had they treated it no differently than selling their wares to/thru Best Buy. It was all a matter of HOW to do it. Bottom line, that was not really an option they considered at the time anyway, as you had already stated in your article. So the whole ant-trust thing is a red herring.

    Scott D. Harrington, Esq.

    Harrington Music Law Group, P.C.

  3. admin says:

    Dear Moses,
    Since I’ve called you out when I think you’re wrong then I have to salute
    you when I think you’re right…this commentary is right on the
    money….there is so much nonsense written about the digital world so this
    is a refreshing corrective…digital sales are not at this time the panacea
    for what ails the music biz


    Randall Grass

  4. admin says:

    Moses, Would you like to grab lunch?

    Max Gousse | EVP A&R and New Business Development

    Music World Entertainment

  5. admin says:

    Here’s what I know I know… I was in the middle of the big time when mp3’s and downloads started. We were the number 4 act for all of BMG that years – behind perhaps Kenny G. (G. for goofy?), Ace of Bass, and I think Abba or something… I looked straight into the eyes of the ARISTA Nashville president at breakfast one morning and saw terror. He said something like… “What are we going to do if people just want to download one song and not buy the album???” “Try to write a song they want, I guess.” says I.

    That terror passed, at least in its extreme sense, but I can tell you they didn’t have a clue about what to do about it, or how to do it. It sure wasn’t a case of the “artist” saying “no.” The music industry mistook the new music delivery system for a means to getting music for free instead of simply the new music delivery system. And, of course, it’s not the last new music delivery system. Someday, you’ll just say “Like A Rolling Stone” into the air and Bob Dylan will be playing in your head – just for you. Or… I’ll think, “Get me Moses…” And there you’ll be in my ears – if you take my “call.”

    Whatever the heck it is you’re doing, keep it up.


  6. admin says:

    Moses: Thanks for setting things straight. I am “artist side” but tired of
    everybody blaming the record companies. The “free internet” people simply
    use every excuse, justification and blame to self-justify ripping everyone
    else off. I’m really tired of it.

    Professional music has never been free: it was originally supported by the
    church, kings and queens who commissioned music and supported musicians. A
    hundred years ago popular music went to the night clubs and booze paid for
    the music. Opera and the symphony had paid entrances. The church kept
    going with the collection plate. Record companies later sold records.
    Radio was paid for by advertising. So was TV – advertising and now cable
    fees. And so it is until someone (Napster) figured out how to take and
    distribute music without paying anybody. 10 years later the bloggers think
    it is a god given right! 10 years out of hundreds of years and they now
    scream like babies if you suggest that artists, writers, managers, yes,
    record labels, publishers etc. should get paid for their work.

    Greg Stephens

    The Law Office of Greg Stephens
    Toronto, Ontario

  7. admin says:

    The thing that irks me is that tech blogs and magazines including Wired continue to rip in the industry and state that everything should be free and is inevitably progressing toward that end. Those people should sit in on record production from start to finish in order to understand that studios cost money, producers and engineers cost money, mastering costs money, and duplication & artwork cost money. In other words, they want the artist to put up a lot of time and dollars creating and be then the consumer deserves to consume the finished product (the art) for free. This doesn’t happen in the art world but for some reason nobody equates music with “true art”.

    I believe the is a ton of waste at major labels but I also believe that if they go away the art will suffer irreparably.

    Darian Rundall

  8. admin says:

    Thank you for your insightful email. What you said showed the situation of
    the big labels. You can only imagine the abuses that were heaped upon the
    small independent labels, by the big labels and all the other parties you
    discussed plus the lying distributors. I started Outstanding Records in 1968.

    It has been quite a ride.

    Best wishes,
    Earl Beecher

  9. admin says:

    nicely put. People forget that it takes millions of dollars in production and promotion to break a new artist. itunes may help out with distribution of “product” (if you can call it that), but it does little with the promoters, advertisers, and tour supporting companies, let alone the musicians, studios, and everyone else.

    peace to you

    Joe Hand

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