– Apple Just Monetised Pirated Music

According to CEO of Tunecore, a digital music distribution service, Apple’s new free iCloud and $24.99 a year iTunes Match, “marries the two disparate ideas of consumer convenience and the monetization of pirated music, providing what could be the ‘missing links’ between consumers, artists, labels, music publishers and the emerging digital music industry,” CEO Jeff Price said on the Tunecore blog. “With its launch, the odometer on the music industry is about to reset itself (again)…And the results, I believe, will be stunning.”

Apple’s iCloud differs significantly fom Amazon and Google music storage lockers into which users have to upload all their songs. But the most radical part of iTunes Match, according to Price, is that now rightsholders can “make money off of music not bought the first time around”.  iTunes Match puts all music from a subscriber into an iCloud account, making it available to stream or re-download. This includes any music, whether bought, ripped or downloaded illegally.

All re-downloads, Price points out, will be downloadable in the AAC format, meaning that “they will only play on an Apple device, driving more dependence of Apple’s products.”

“And finally, and perhaps more importantly,” concludes Price, “just as the original Napster trained people to download music and listen to it on their computers, Apple, due to its vast hardware proliferation (iPhones in particular) is in a position to shift consumer behavior yet again – this time from downloading music to listening to it via streams.”

Read more at the Tunecore Blog.

iCloud and iTunes Match, together with iOS 5 and the Lion pack is a deadly punch against so many companies: Together, they strengthen Apple’s lock-in strategy with vertical integration. Many consider Apple to be the most vertically integrated company in the world: All Apple hardware and software are designed in-house, and Apple also runs its own digital content store, iTunes, along with the App Store and iBooks store. Talk about disruptive technology.

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