Business Insider: You know nothing of what you write.
Yesterday, Business Insider slammed Digital Music News for our coverage of Apple’s recent Apple Music launch in South Korea. In the piece, ill-informed writer James Cook claims that not only is Apple not dropping music downloads with its move into Korea, but Digital Music News didn’t even check the iTunes application. And, sort of made it all up. “No, Apple hasn’t stopped selling music downloads in South Korea,” Cook asserts in his response title, while singling out our breaking coverage of the launch last week.
Just for clarification, it should be underscored that iTunes Korea is definitely not offering any music downloads, just streaming via Apple Music. One of Business Insider’s problems seem to be that iTunes Korea didn’t previously offer music downloads, while blatantly ignoring the broader global iTunes and Apple Music picture.
Laughably, Cook also calls out ShortList for a similar story, not realizing that ShortList (and unnamed other publications) simply ripped off DMN’s article, including some of our screenshots. Sadly, that sort of copycatting has become an almost daily problem for us, but that’s for another article (and yeah, we do name names, like Ethan Smith of the Wall Street Journal).
“Multiple websites are reporting that Apple has begun its plan to stop selling music downloads on iTunes, gradually forcing customers to subscribe to Apple Music,” Cook continues, singling out Digital Music News’ breaking story on the launch. “It’s a worrying scenario, but there’s a slight problem: It’s not true,” Cook declares, while then cut-n-pasting DMN’s screenshot (and crediting Apple).
“The apparent evidence for those headlines is a collection of screenshots of iTunes in South Korea. There aren’t any download options — just the option to stream songs on Apple Music. Apple has just launched Apple Music in the country, and so the screenshots make it look like Apple cut music downloads at the same time.”
All of which amounts to, well, calling bullshit on Digital Music News. Which means, we get to call bullshit back on Business Insider. Here we go:
1. For starters, not only did we actually test the iTunes South Korea application, yes, we took screenshots of the app while testing it out. So, those are where those screenshots came from… wait for it: a DMN computer.
2. And by the way, thanks Business Insider for using the exact screenshot we published, and then crediting Apple for it. And then using that image in a story while calling bullshit on us.
3. More importantly, the source for our story was a music executive operating a inside a major South Korean company. So not only does this person know all of the details going on in the South Korean digital music market, this source also spent hours on the newly-expanded iTunes from an office chair in Seoul.
4. And, yeah! Apple is definitely dropping music downloads in iTunes, which is why there aren’t any downloads in iTunes Korea. Previously, there were apps in iTunes Korea, with no music service whatsoever. Now, for the music expansion, they’ve only included streams though Apple Music. Sorry if this article approaches Apple’s music strategy from a global perspective, see if you can handle it.
5. Incidentally, Business Insider, you might want to check out iTunes in China, where music downloads are glaringly absent. So, I guess not having music downloads in two of the largest music markets in the world doesn’t count as ‘dropping music downloads’?
6. And yes, Digital Music News was the first to report that Apple was planning to phase out music downloads within 2-3 years. They then denied that report in May, only to launch an iTunes music expansion in South Korea, the eight largest music market in the world, without music downloads.
7. And when iTunes finally nixes music downloads in mega-markets like the US, UK, and Europe, we’ll be sure to update this piece.
Your turn, Business Insider…
Point image by Sarah, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).