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Industry Analysis

Core change at Apple, as Jobs leaves, where does this leave the music industry?

One piece of Apple software changed the music industry forever, though it wasn’t the code itself that changed made the impact. It was the content that it distributed, music.

Apple founder Steve Jobs was the brains behind the strategy that put iTunes as the software in the humble iPod, to Windows machines, the iPhone and the iPad. August 2011 will be long remembered as the month that Steven Jobs resigned as CEO.

What does this mean for the music industry? Jobs will be known in history, as the man who was able to successfully set up legitimate digital music sales at a large scale with iTunes. What Jobs got right from the start was delivering the best user experience, from the device, the delivery to the consumption. No body else came close, and it looks like nobody else will come close in the near future.

The chart to the right show the growth rate iTunes downloads (Source: Wikipedia). As of 2010 the number of songs downloaded on iTunes hit 10 billion.

As Jobs leaves Apple, the competition in digital music sales is starting to heat up with the likes of Google, Amazon and now RIM(Blackberry). Subscription services like Spotify are starting to get some traction.

It was Jobs who paved the way. He is the one who secured distribution deals with not only working with the record labels, but by personally gaining trust from artist.

In a 2003 CNN Tech article from 2003 announcing the launch of iTunes, Steven Jobs says,  ‘Well, the most important thing we did was we created the iTunes Music Store, which is 100 miles ahead of anything that has been done before. So we write really good software, and we were able to create a really great store experience. So I think that’s the most important thing* we did.’

8 years down the track, Jobs was pretty much right about that ‘*most important thing’. Others will follow and the lead in digital sales may change, but Apple did set the standard. We can only hope that digital distribution continues to be a leading source of growth for the music industry.

Thank you for paving the way Steve.


About Jomar Reyes

Jomar Lectures in Creative Industries as well as Digital Media in Marketing at the Danish Institute of Studies Abroad. He also runs the Strategic Media Company, a corporate consultancy agency based in Copenhagen.



  1. Pingback: As Jobs leaves Apple where does that leave us? « About Jomar - 26 August, 2011

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