[Large Television Network] has announced that they won’t be selling their shows on iTunes any more. This comes fairly hot on the heels of Universal Music announcing that they’ll only be marketing their music “at will” on the iTunes Music Store, which leaves them free to pull all, or any portion, of their music from the store at any time.
Let me explain why these are stupid moves: About 10 years ago, a little program called Napster came out. Suddenly college students all over the world could get music the way they wanted to — electronically, ready to be loaded onto our recently invented MP3 players (OK, I went with MiniDisc, but same difference). Like the mix tape of a decade gone by, this was seen as a major threat to the media industry, and they set about on a campaign to crush piracy by suing 12-year olds, and little old ladies who don’t even own computers.
Then Apple came along, and offered the media industry a way to embrace this new technology and satisfy their customers by providing their media in a medium we actually wanted, while still making money. After much cajoling and convincing, the cumbersome giants, which are the media companies, slowly began to understand that “the Internets” could be used to grow their business, and one-by-one, they started to sell their music through the iTunes Music Store.
Then they got greedy.
Somehow they believe that if they remove the option of legally acquiring digital media, then we’ll all flock back to the stores to buy Compact Discs and DVDs in droves. Unable to admit that they are too stupid and too dated an industry to champion their own successful digital distribution system, and unwilling to share their massive profits with a company that offers such a system, Big Media has decided it would be in their best interests to drive us all back into piracy.
Here’s a hint, big guys: if you don’t offer us a legal way to get your content, their are plenty of Swedish hackers that would be happy to provide your content to the rest of the world for free (well, free except for a few raunchy banner ads).
And here’s a hint to all the large organizations who are frightened that individual consumer’s can now communicate with each other, and share information, and yes, even data: you can’t stop the Internet. You can try to portion it off, sue its citizens into submission, limit how we use what we buy, or keep your content to yourself, delivered only through archaic physical mediums, but sooner or later, you’re going to have to face reality — the new reality:
In this generation, ideas, art and even thought itself flow unstoppably through the ether(net). The power belongs to the user now — not to you. Join the digital party, or get trampled on as you become extinct like the dinosaurs you are.
Update: Apple has now decided to pre-emptively drop NBC. Turns out they were asking for double the money for their shows, and Apple refused to be extorted.