In order to lead you need to stay ahead of the game. In order to stay ahead you need to innovate/create.
Apple is one such company that is at the crossroads. The iTunes store is seeing a decrease in MP3 sales. Their first foray into streaming, iTunes radio never really took off.
The move into the streaming market dominated by Spotify and YouTube with the Beats acquisition is still at the starting gate and the birth of new products since the death of Steve Jobs has stagnated , however the iWatch is being hyped up by critics and bloggers as a savior.
But what people are failing to see is what Apple is doing behind the scenes. The acquisition of smaller companies into the Apple network forms a picture of a large corporation gearing up to control more of our daily lives.
Let’s not kid ourselves here. IT companies are billion dollar industries because of the data they harvest from us, the people. It is that data that provides a dashboard on how to market a product and to whom. And Apple are gearing up for a mammoth shake on the data front.
They have purchased Semetric, the U.K company behind Musicmetric. For those that don’t know, Musicmetric is a web service that analyses data on the internet around sales of music, P2P downloads, YouTube views, streams, social networks and sells that data to record labels, artists and others.
I saw Musicmetric as a great tool and it’s most valuable asset is that it looks at BitTorrent (p2P) downloads (both legal and illegal). It could tell an artist which countries and cities are illegally downloading their music.
To me, these are fans that can be monetised via live performances, provided the artist has the means to get there. For newer acts it tells them where their music is popular even though they don’t see that popularity translate into sales because in the end a fan base is a fan base. It has been proven that at some time down the line these fans will commit financially to the artist.
Which is a shame because I cant see how Musicmetric will stick around as a standalone service anymore.
Apple has gained a key in-house tool that it can use to track sales and streams within iTunes alongside social networking stats. But the reason why Musicmetric worked is that it also included Spotify and YouTube activity into its dashboard, however the chances of those two entities remaining with Musicmetric (now that it is owned by Apple) seem to be slim.
Another interesting piece I came across is Apple’s latest patent, which states that it will allow people to legally share music and videos with friends as long as those users have a license. As the Torrentfreak article points out;
While “legalized P2P sharing” may sound appealing, in theory it’s actually quite restrictive. The idea introduces a new layer of content protection which means that the files in question can only be played on “trusted client software.” This means that transferring files between devices is only possible if these support Apple’s licensing scheme. That’s actually a step backwards from the DRM-free music that’s sold in most stores today.
So what we have is a company that has purchased a data analytics company that tracks illegal P2P sharing activity as part of its dashboard and they have just been given a patent to legalize P2P sharing amongst its users provided they have a license.
But seriously, Napster came out close to 16 years ago. Yes, 16 is the number. That is close to 6000 days ago and the recording industries have done nothing to give the fans of music anything that remotely resembles Napster. Meanwhile, technology companies have done all of the innovating.
To me this is another attempt at control and restriction and that is a bad thing.
These new tools will most probably be packaged in with their Beats music service and if my reading between the lines is correct, Beats Music will also be a P2p protocol sharing service provided the user has a license which will probably come automatically with the purchase of an Apple product.