Apple Didn't Kill the Music Business

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Jon Bon Jovi has made a spirited and utterly senseless attack on Steve Jobs for personally killing the music business.

Bon Jovi's beef has nothing to do with Napster or bitTorrent or file-sharing or other high-tech ways customers used to avoid paying top dollar for recycled pop music and repackaged "best of" albums.

In an interview with London's Sunday Times (paywall, but ElReg has a story on it with an excelllllent '80s big-hair pic) the 49-year-old Bon Jovi complained that digital music and, to a lesser extent, CDs ruined the visual magic of the album cover.

"Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album," he said.

Yes they have, Jon. They've also missed the scratched vinyl, bad sound, the need to re-buy the same albums over and over as they migrate from vinyl to tape to CD.

They've saved a lot of money by not having to buy an entire album (or double albums like the one Bon Jovi was promoting) just to get a copy of one or two songs.

Yes, a lot of them stole the songs they were interested in. They also sampled a ton of bands they wouldn't have heard otherwise. They collapsed the economic pillars of the traditional music business and allowed hordes of fringe artists to make a living, while bleeding outrageous profits from the big music publishers and a few giant, supernaturally wealthy bands (like, say, Bon Jovi).

If anything Steve Jobs helped save the music business by establishing the first popular pay-for-what-you-use business plan for pop music, giving a legitimate alternative to music fans who felt guilty about downloading music free, and re-establishing the idea that fans should pay for the music they download.

Album covers? Where is the value of the album cover in relation to the upending and survival of the whole music industry and music fans that support it?

If you're going to be a grumpy old man (his term), whine about something substantive, or at least accurate.

There are plenty of reasons to take shots at Steve Jobs. Pick one that makes a difference.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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This story, "Apple Didn't Kill the Music Business" was originally published by ITworld.

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