Digital music sales in 2011 outstripped physical sales for the first time ever

Essay by Barry987College, UndergraduateC+, October 2014

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'Digital music sales in 2011 outstripped physical sales for the first time ever.'

I will now discuss how this occurred largely due to Apple and its CEO Steve Jobs. By using technology and innovation they found ways to get better results with less work for the consumer leading to the globalisation of the music industry.

In 1999 Napster was founded by Sean Parker, Shawn Fanning and John Fanning. They invented a Peer to Peer (P2P) music sharing service that allowed users to download songs from the internet that other users or 'peers' had uploaded. Napster was shut down in 2001 due to lawsuits from record companies claiming breach of copyright.

Nevertheless this interested Steve Jobs and he saw a window of opportunity and Apple launched the first online music store of its kind 'iTunes' to tie in with their equally innovative product the 'iPod' which had launched in 2001. There were MP3 players before and after the iPod but Apples product featured inexpensive manufacturing, a user-friendly interface and a high resolution screen and hence made it the most marketable of its kind.

"I love it when you can bring really great design and simple capability to something that doesn't cost much"[1: Jobs, S. (2011) Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography. Isaacson, W. UK Edition. Little Brown. 2001]

At the time the music industry was suffering due to the availability of free music online. Jobs brought his idea of iTunes to 'The Big 5'; the five largest record companies, Sony, Warner, Universal, EMI and BMG. After a series of meetings iTunes acquired the rights to sell over 200,000 songs at a low cost of $0.99 a song. [2: Jobs, S. (2003) Apple Special Event, Moscone West, San Francisco. 16 October 2003. ]

iTunes biggest competitor was illegal downloading sites like Napster...