What Steve Jobs Said About Piracy and iTunes…

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Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, 2003:

“We believe that 80% of the people stealing stuff don’t want to be, there’s just no legal alternative.  So we said, ‘Let’s create a legal alternative to this.’  Everybody wins.  Music companies win.  The artists win. Apple wins. And the user wins, because he gets a better service and doesn’t have to be a thief.”

(quoted from an interview with Esquire)

Daniel Ek, Spotify CEO, 2014:

“Piracy doesn’t pay artists a penny – nothing, zilch, zero.  Spotify has paid more than two billion dollars to labels, publishers and collecting societies for distribution to songwriters and recording artists.

A billion dollars from the time we started Spotify in 2008 to last year and another billion dollars since then.  And that’s two billion dollars’ worth of listening that would have happened with zero or little compensation to artists and songwriters through piracy or practically equivalent services if there was no Spotify – we’re working day and night to recover money for artists and the music business that piracy was stealing away.”

Daniel Ek, Spotify CEO, in a public response to Taylor Swift leaving the service.


Image by Mattie B, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).

27 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Wow. What a trip back in time. 2003 and there was no legal alternative, what were the “Music companies” thinking? Alas, it doesn’t really matter anymore.

  2. Anonymous

    And did the numbers show piracy dropping by 80% once iTunes opened, or was Jobs wrong?

  3. Anonymous

    At any rate, Spotify is history — the new YouTube url is up.

  4. Chris H

    And thusly this article shows neatly the decline in valuation of music. You get this….or nothing. I’m the good guy.

  5. Hippydog

    Quote ” humiliation the defamation of my character the ruining of my reputation and my image leaves me little future or present and essentially instills the reality that i may as well commit suicide as i have no path or option anywhere and ive made such an embarrassing ass of myself that to continually eat so much crow when im a vegetarian is just getting past the point of even being manageable midst the daily routine of survival”

    1.) get off the drugs..
    2.) go volunteer at a homeless shelter or food bank..

    daily routine of survival. LOL. Your typing away on a computer.. that means you have access to the internet and electricity..
    Take some time out of your slightly sad life and go find out what some people actually have to do to survive.. people who dont even know if they will have a meal tomorrow..

  6. Hippydog

    lets be clear..

    He just didnt say “give them a legal alternative”
    the entire article he was clearly making a point on “give them a BETTER alternative”..

    Itunes was a better alternative VS Kazaa..
    at the time..

    I still find it weird that our last major advance in distributing music was back in 1980

    • Anonymous

      I still find it weird that our last major advance in distributing music was back in 1980

      this only goes to further prove how out of touch you are with reality HippyDog…

      I dont know who hippydog is but some psych evaluation and maybe some respirdon or some other sort of drug is needed to get that guy back to reality, wow…

      Do not come at me anywhere on any level hippydog, zip that fucking lip and leave me to do what i do, PERIOD!

        • MickeyMac

          Yeah – all those cowardly haters named “Anonymous” are always quick on the trigger to exercise their low I.Q.’s.

      • hippydog

        Quote=Justin Mayer? “Do not come at me anywhere on any level hippydog, zip that fucking lip and leave me to do what i do, PERIOD”

        Well.. that is not very canadian

  7. Name2

    I look back with absolutely no nostalgia on DRM-wrapped, 128kbps AAC, download-exactly-ONCE files with bloated-ass software.

    I know iTunes got “better” over the years on some of these counts, but piracy was a better deal than iTunes for a long time, mostly because what iTunes offered was so beneath contempt and not in serious consideration in my house. iTunes’ intro was the nadir of digital music.

    • but

      but when iTunes was introduced, and for about 3 or 4 years, as a musician getting paid, it was great. the lofty dream of a middle-class musican seemed like a possibility. now the lofty dream is of a mid-size coffee as those dollars became micropennys.

      • Name2

        Those 128k files were not worth the price.

        The application experience was more than a little lacking, the process painful.

        The endless charts posted by the admins on this site point out that it was pretty much entirely downhill for downloads after the iTunes novelty wore off. Except for 7digital, I can think of nobody today in the cash-for-MP3s business except

        1) companies with other irons in the file (pono, itunes, google, amazon)
        2) companies able to charge a premium (HDTRACKS, which mostly sells album-only)

  8. GGG

    Aww, did I miss another Justin Mayer melt?

    Not sure if sad or happy…

  9. Anonymous

    iTunes was also controversial as hell. It took awhile for Apple to start iTunes because the major labels and musicians where saying how the forced unbundling and fixed prices was a bad deal for the music industry. It took many years for high profile acts like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin to agree to use iTunes.

  10. PTSoundHound

    … and then Apple release the 160GB iPod Classic that can hold 40,000 tracks. There are two ways to fill that iPod:

    1) spend 40,000 x $0.99 on iTunes = $39,600 (yes; thirty nine thousand dollars)
    2) obtain 40,000 tracks for free from some Swedish P2P network

    Anyone still want to claim Jobs was anti-piracy?

    • Anonymous

      Or you could buy one already filled from ebay, craigslist and a bunch of other places. An 8 billion dollar iPod!

  11. Rikki

    has it occurred to you that there is so much more junk McMusic than ever before and 80% or more is not worth paying for?

    we are Katrina flooded daily with the most awful rap and hip hop music…let alone factory churned out pop, and house that all sounds alike……so where are the new artist that really do deserve to get paid by really putting in the time needed to get great?

  12. Willis

    Zzzz – while Jobs may have been viewed as a visionary, this piece is quite revisionary.

  13. Criptor13

    I agree that iTunes has helped the music industry. I personally think it’s a great service to have to a point. I miss record shops. I do. I miss being able to go to a store and touching the CD. Has it helped dwindle piracy. ehhhh. I don’t know. I can still find anything for free if I knew where to look. Is a CD higher quality product yes and no. The audio quality is supremely better, however the audio CD got scratches thus diminishing quality. Just like humans to build a product that has manufactured flaws. Digital audio has flaws too, one failed hard drive and you lose everything. So we have backups of backups now. However I do agree that iTunes was a cutting edge idea at the time and has helped to save the music business at least for a while. I do not like the idea of musicians going back to street corner performers if they are truly that good or working on getting that good (practice makes perfect right). I just think that the computer has done more to hurt industry than it has to help it. When I was growing up I never thought the music industry would be on the brink of collapse by the time I was out of school. Sometimes I just wish I was born earlier. I would have enjoyed working in that business……..

  14. McG

    Feeling kind of slow this morning, so help me out folks: in 2003 Steve said Apple should create a service to combat piracy and provide a legitimate paid alternative. In 2014 Daniel said Spotify is combating piracy by providing a legitimate paid alternative. So therefore….???? What am I missing here?