In a bid to make the prospect of a new Snow Patrol album even more thrilling, Polydor and Apple are launching a superspecial iPhone app, reports Music Week:
If you think that sentence suggests a tenuous grasp on the technology underpinning the marketing idea, you might be right. Music Week continues:
You don't think, perhaps, the increasing popularity of apps "in recent months" might have more to do with, erm, the launch of the apps store on July 10th and them suddenly becoming available, then?
Meanwhile, Bruce Houghton at Hypebot has worked himself up into a state:
Apple had a pre-mp3 stranglehold on music sales? Back in 1997? Or does Houghton mean "before mp3 stores became widely available, because the music industry was too afraid to sell files that weren't wrapped up in DRM?
Apple weren't strangleholding the market while the music industry prayed for a more open standard - the industry deliberately chose to ignore an option that would have handed back a little more control to the customer; if Apple strangled them, it was consenual erotic asphyxiation.
Houghton does have a point - it would be much happier for everyone if this new stuff was available in an open format instead of being tied to a single brand or store, but for that to happen, the record labels would have to accept that their extra-value material would be published in a way that people could take it and use it and share it on without payment. It's hard to see why, given the current mindset of the big labels, they'd invest cash in developing stuff designed to persuade people to buy an official download only for the exclusivity to evaporate in the same way that of the original song had, too.
Still, Houghton is clearly alarmed, even appending a message to the foot of his blog post:
Yes! Email it to ten people, and instruct them to reply to you with details of the ten people they've emailed it to within the hour, or the music industry will DIE. It's a plan for a label to try a pilot scheme which basically involves tacking a couple of extra files onto a digital download. It doesn't quite require the caps lock urgency of a call to petition for a stay of execution for a prisoner to be killed at sun down.