Steve Jobs on iTunes: The Unpublished Interview
LOCKE: What’s next?
JOBS: I think what’s next for me is getting a good night’s sleep… I don’t know… We have all sorts [of things] that we work on, but we never really talk about what’s next until we’re ready…
LOCKE: Can you say anything about the Music Store’s development costs or Apple’s investment?
JOBS: Well, we don’t usually talk about that, but all I would say is that… you know I had somebody comment today, “Well, now that you have introduced your store, do you expect a lot others?” And I guess our answer is no. This is really hard. Just to create an infrastructure to pump oceans of bits out in the world, you know, we’ve done that over the last several years with movie trailers and stuff, and that’s tens of millions of dollars for server farms and networking farms – it’s huge – and we’ve already got that in place, and say you want to have millions of transactions, and our online store is all tied into SAP and auditors bless it, and to do that, that’s tens of millions of dollars, and we have one-click shopping, and only us and Amazon have that, and then to make a jukebox, if you don’t a popular jukebox, how much does it cost to make iTunes and make it popular? A lot! But we’ve got that.
And then iPod, if you want to make an iPod, what does that cost? Well, nobody has done it but us, people have tried, but they haven’t even come close. That’s a lot of money. So we’ve already made these investments and we can leverage all these investments. And then we’ve invested more on top of that to make a store. But to recreate this, it’s tens of millions of dollars and years. That’s why I don’t think this is going to be so easy to copy.
LOCKE: How tough was it to sell your music service concept to music industry executives?
JOBS: Well, we started almost a year and a half ago, and as you recall, the climate at that time was more hostile than it is today, but we did have the luxury of going in at the top, so I talked to Roger Aims at Warner, Doug Morris at Universal, and the other guys. And they clearly realized that the Internet was in their future, but they were shell-shocked with Napster and people stealing their content. And so, the major discussions with the labels were really over giving the users broad personal use rights. And we worked through that, and they learned. I think they trusted us to do the right thing. You know most everybody in the music industry uses a Mac—and they all have iPods—even the ones who don’t use a computer have somebody else load up their iPods for ‘em with the songs they want.
So I think they see Apple as the most creative of the technical companies, a very artist-friendly company, very credible. And you know, we were able to negotiate landmark deals with them that no one else has ever come close to in terms of offering the user really broad rights to the music they buy.
LOCKE: What about independent labels, will they follow suit?
JOBS: Yes. They’ve already been calling us like crazy. We’ve had to put most of them off until after launch just because the major big five have most of the music, and we only had so many hours in the day. But now we’re really going to have time to focus on a lot of the independents and that will be really great.
LOCKE: With iTunes Music Store, the artists win, music labels win, but what about traditional retailers?
JOBS: You should go ask them. The Internet was made to deliver music.
LOCKE: Anything else you would like to add?
JOBS: It’s so great! I cannot overemphasize that because of the previews, browsing, etc. you fall in love with music again — and you find the hits you’ve heard before and the gems you’ve never heard before — and it’s really wonderful. It’s so cool.
BONUS MATERIAL: Here’s a fuzzy-but-complete version of Jobs’ iTunes Music Store keynote: