The iPhone Launch: How Will It Sync With The Music Industry’s Hopes?

Jun 27th, 2007 // 18 Comments


In case you haven’t heard, tomorrow brings the launch of the iPhone, the all-in-one gadget that is allegedly going to change lives, and definitely going to change some people’s sleep patterns. But an AP piece is speculating that the iPhone’s effect on the music industry will be slim because users won’t be able to purchase music on the fly:

Instead, iPhone owners will have to buy music via their computers and then download it to their phones, a process called side-loading.

…The arrival of the iPhone on Friday has stoked optimism among some music company executives that it will usher in a new wave of easier-to-use mobile music devices or even entice more people into embracing the phone as music player _ and into buying more music.

“The introduction of the iPhone is an enormously positive event,” said Warner Music Group Corp. CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. at a conference earlier this month in New York. “It creates more and more consumers who are looking to buy music, but it also galvanizes the mobile industry to compete.”

Some analysts, however, say mobile music sales will be dampened as long as users are limited to loading music on their phones via their PCs and Macintosh computers, and blocked from buying music wirelessly.

“The whole idea of on-the-go instant gratification isn’t there,” said Ted Cohen, managing partner of media consulting firm Tag Strategic.

In the past, that “on-the-go” gratification has come at a steeper price than sideloaded tracks; however, both Verizon and Sprint have recently cut prices for over-the-air downloads, and Sprint’s music files, which were originally a whopping $2.50/track, are now priced at iTunes’ 99 cents/song mark. Still, from what we’ve read, the iPhone setup for transferring music to computers isn’t all that different from the way users get music onto their iPods–a familiarity that, at the very least, will get people interested in using the phone’s music capabilities. And while we aren’t gadget experts by any stretch of the imagination, we suspect that the iPhone’s Wi-Fi compatibility will ultimately pave the way for it being compatible with the iTunes store, at the very least.

iPhone May Not Rock Music Industry [AP via Washington Post]

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  1. Recury

    The what now?

  2. sarahrose

    hype hype hype hype hype
    this thing is as overexposed as hilton.

  3. ragandboneshop

    It looks nice. It’s not going to change my life, though, unless they manage to get cell phone service out here in the mountains. Oh and unless they make the thing cost about $50.

  4. enriquez the water bottle

    “iPhone May Not Rock Music Industry”

    I don’t think it was ever meant to. It’s a phone. iPHONE.

    I swear, everyone thinks this thing is going to solve all their problems. It looks like an cool machine to me, but, essentially, it’s just a Treo with iTunes on it.

  5. katieee

    Man, this is depressing. Downloading music on your phone seems like the crappiest, most throwaway thing ever. Instant gratification is gone just as quickly as it arrives. Do you hear me, teens?!?!

  6. Ned Raggett

    Which is kinda what I would like, so.

  7. Ned Raggett

    (Responding to Enriquez there. I need to use the reply function more often.)

  8. Ned Raggett

    @katieee: I’m actually coming more and more around with time to the idea that simply calling up music is really almost kinda healthier for you than hoarding a collection. And I speak as someone who has hoarded enough.

  9. Bazooka Tooth

    Oh man! I was going to download all these songs that I really wanted to hear and like to listen to, but when I found out I couldn’t do it right when I wanted to, walking down the street, I no longer liked the music and never downloaded it!

    I mean, if record companies want to increase sales, a new way to listen to the music isn’t going to do it, GOOD MUSIC IS.

  10. Antiheroine

    Will mentioning that the iPhone actually launches Friday, not tomorrow, make me sound too much like those people already camped out on the sidewalk in front of the Apple Store? ‘Cause I’m not. Yet.

    Also, for what it’s worth, the speed and reliability of the AT&T network is probably a more important factor in mobile downloading than the hardware itself.

  11. Cam/ron

    The iPhone won’t affect the music industry for the good – in fact, the great debt caused by purchasing that damn thing and a two-year phone plan will probably cause many to steal music. Besides, its screen looks way too small to fit a full, legible webpage. I dig how these video gadgets with miniscle screens are usually engineered and championed by bespectacled fellas.

  12. Chris Molanphy

    @enriquez the water bottle: essentially, it’s just a Treo with iTunes on it.

    I’m with Ned Raggett – that’s what I need. Honestly, I’ve been hoping Apple would do this – regardless of whether or not the iPhone plays music – because I’m convinced the Palm OS is doomed, and I have nearly 10 years devoted to it. If I’m going to switch PDA/smartphone ecosystems, I’d rather go to Apple’s than have to bow before Zod…I mean, Micro$oft.

    Oh yeah, this is a music blog…anyway: I’m sure Apple will see a decent uptick in iTunes sales, kind of like a mini-Christmas, the week after iPhone drops, but it’ll probably be short-lived.

    The more interesting iTunes question is this: the first buyers are going to be gadget-heads and wealthy middle-aged yuppies. Will iTunes see a dramatic increase in old geek rock (the Cure, Depeche Mode) and Boomer favorites (CSN, Eagles, etc.)?

  13. Anonymous

    “we suspect that the iPhone’s Wi-Fi compatibility will ultimately pave the way for it being compatible with the iTunes store, at the very least.”

    Oh, or how about the ability to share a song with another person who has an iPhone for three days or three plays. That’s pretty much the same thing right?

  14. StopKillingMe

    Wait, wait, wait. The Cure and Depeche Mode are now considered “old geek rock”??? Fuck. This kind of upturns my whole world. You see, here The Cure is still “mopey Goth shit” and Depeche Mode is “gay fag pop.” That’s actually a really crucial distinction that helps me know where I fit in society. And I’m way too young to be considered an “old geek,” so can we please just stick to the accepted knowledge that “old geek rock” is AC/DC and Aerosmith or whoever…?

  15. Cam/ron

    “Old Geek Rock” is more like Rush, Clapton (Blues nerd alert!), or Steve Vai (guitar-tech geeks). The Cure and the Mode are more like Goth for 14-year-old beginners (Dead Can Dance, Siouxsie, and Bauhaus are to follow).

  16. enriquez the water bottle

    @dennisobell and Ned:

    I think being a well-implemented smartphone is a very good thing. I just think that people are building it up so much that it’s expected to, I dunno, enable time travel and taste like peppermint. It’s a smartphone, folks.

  17. StopKillingMe

    I’d be really impressed if I met a 14 year-old who seriously listened to Dead Can Dance.

  18. Chris Molanphy

    @Cam/ron: You’re right, that’s a better fit (Rush, Vai) - the technique-loving types.

    I was picturing the kind of music a thirtysomething nerd (like myself) might like, and ’80s U.K. alternative might fill the bill. (Imagine Trey Parker and Matt Stone, for example, who love buying new gadgets and worship the Cure.)

    But you’re right, Rush makes more sense.

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