I don’t like to speak ill of the dead but some of the coverage of the Steve Jobs passing this week portraying him as some sort of godlike genius has been unbearable. Ok he built and created a successful company, but the majority of his products were more exclusive (and expensive) versions of other people’s idea.
Bill Gates is cut from the same cloth as Henry Ford, Ford dreamed of a day where everybody could be able to afford a car of their own. Bill Gates did the exact same thing with computers. Unlike Gates who has actually has changed the world, Job’s computers are overpriced, unpractical and like all Apple products tie the consumer into their products at all costs. Unlike Gates idea where the people could on mass have a computer, Apple vastly expensive alternatives are for the privileged few.
The latest i-Pad fad meshes into this theme quite well. It doesn’t have a cd drive, it doesn’t have a USB port, you have to go through Apple for your content, if something doesn’t meet their approval, it won’t appear on their platforms which people have bought in good faith.
The smugness that Apple customers project is the reason in part for Apple’s critics. The Apple “fanny-pad” as many of us non-believers have dubbed it is probably the world most sought after device. Apple likes to portray them as an underdog that all their customers can be underdogs together, that somehow everybody else doesn’t understand them. More like a pseudo religion or cult than a corporate business. Jobs has somehow managed to trick people into thinking this desire is actually creative and cool, that buying and owning his products their somehow more worthy as a human being. I’m not naïve, Steve Jobs didn’t invented advertising but he was very good at it.
The greatest misconception about Jobs, (and it’s been put forward a lot over the past week) is how he has somehow saved recorded music. Apple did not invent MP3 players, Apple did not invent music downloads.
The i-pod combines (in typical Job’s fashion) other people’s great ideas. Even then portable jukeboxes weren’t his idea either. Sony created the Walkman to allow for portable and private music listening. Then by using laser disc technology they created the CD, leading to the establishment of digital music becoming the norm and killing off vinyl.
One of the real sad thing as a music fan is how potentially Job’s will have killed of the CD. Not through their music playing gadget but through there online music shop. When the CD killed off vinyl it was for practicality reasons, we were still getting music as physical and tangible object. As someone who still buys CD’s and enjoy browsing through record shops this is very sad. I have serious issues with buying something that doesn’t physically exist, further more it makes music nothing more than a disposable commodity.
The whole Napster who-ha around the turn of the millennium changed the music industry forever. There was a feeling like the people were taking music back from corporate labels that were so strongly against what they were doing. It felt like a true underground movement with the fan the undisputed winner. Their (music labels and most notably Metallica) accusation of stealing was at odds with our ‘don’t give a fuck’ feelings of liberation.
After Napster was shut down and a whole host of ‘official’ and ‘legitimate’ services were set up is where Jobs rears his head again. i-Tunes is a front for the modern music industry, its cold and corporate and closed to other peoples ideas. For an industry that would strive to call its self artistic and creative this is a travesty.
I have been left staggered by the coverage of this mans death this week, Thick outpourings of grief from world leaders, the same leaders who should be worrying about the immediate threat of another global recession. Who seriously thinks Steve Jobs is on the same level as Einstein or Edison? Steve Jobs was not a radical he was a shill.
This is not a personal attack; I have tried to be fair on the man’s personal character having just so recently died prematurely. Working as a web developer I like to think I understand this story and industry better than the sheep who believe everything they’re told. Feel free to disagree with me; just don’t tell me my opinion isn’t valid. This unique blend of fascism and capitalism that Apple seems to instil in people really isn’t very becoming.
I’m completely disgusted with the relaunch of We7. They will tell you it’s to make the site more relevant to the user but don’t believe their lies. The official responses for these changes are as follows:
• First, we believe that a radio with request service is easier for more people to get access to more music without effort - sit back and just enjoy the music.
• Secondly, rights holders are imposing more restrictions upon free music services in an attempt to protect the value of music.
• Finally, this model creates a economic balance so we can provided you with access to unlimited music, pay a fair rate to artists and rights owners and create a base to build a sustainable business.
Moving to a radio format takes away the real key point of we7 which was choice the ability to play and replay any artist, album and song in their database. While this service was interrupted by the odd the avert it was a very good service. They have now taken this away and installed a radio style system instead where users can now request songs and albums (number of request are determined by user level).
The “monthly 50 request” idea is clearly an attempt to pacify people like my self who they knew would straight away kick up a fuss. Unlimited requests are available to subscribers but that defeats the point.
If they are now targeting subscribers as there main business how come we still have to put up with adverts? They say that “rights holders” are now being stricter on them, well how come we haven’t seen the same measures brought against YouTube.
What I really resent is how they have put up the users as the main reason for change, like these restrictions are meant to be for our benefit. They believe the new system will be “easier for more people to get access to more music without effort”. How thick do you link your users are? There was a search bar and standard audio player controls, it’s hardly rocket science. What really pisses me off is the old site appears to be available in all its form to subscribers. So does this mean your subscribers are stupid? If they had come out and given a valid real reason e.g. music labels are being dicks to us. I would have had a hell of a lot more respect for them. Instead they look like nothing but whores, if they want money why not sell blow jobs on the street like the whores you are.
My suspicions are that their attempt to get into the US market would be compromised by letting users have the freedom to choose what they listen on demand. The radio system amounts to nothing more than a striped down version of the excellent Last.fm, only there is no stats or community interaction capabilities. We7, you’ve lost a user because I fail to see what your service offers that others (Last.fm and YouTube) don’t. It doesn’t even scrobble anymore and just wonder how much longer we7 will continue to exist.