Steve Jobs truly changed the music industry, and we don’t even realize it.
Apple launched iTunes in 2001 and has since changed how the music industry works, whether accidentally or not.
Mr. Jobs declared that all songs, no matter the quality, are worth $0.99 in the iTunes store. Despite the fact that songwriters and musicians work hard to create and record their unique art, Jobs leveled the playing field and made it all worth the same.
Is the price of $0.99 equal to the hours spent on one song?
A song may take hours upon hours to write and record. And as I write this, the minimum wage in Pennsylvania is $7.25, according to the United States government — if you were to apply this wage to a musician’s work, each of their songs could cost $20 or more.
Obviously, no one is going to pay that much for one song, but you can see how low the rate-of-pay is for a musician selling his or her song on iTunes.
Plus, organizations that put musicians’ music on iTunes (i.e. CDBaby.com, Tunecore.com) take a percentage of each song sold. So the artist is getting less than $0.99 per song after spending hours to create it.
Also, single songs can be downloaded from an album on iTunes. Back in the day, you had to buy the entire album. Single song downloads didn’t (legally) exist until iTunes. You had to buy the vinyl record, the 8-track, or the CD.
I’m not chewing out Jobs for doing this. I’m merely stating how he and Apple have drastically changed the industry.
Now the emphasis on the single-song download puts more pressure on the songwriter and musician; they have to make all 99 pennies count.