On a day when Apple revamped its entire iPod line — including the sexy, new iPod Touch — it’s worth taking a sobering look at Steve Jobs’ prized product. Apple is running into more and more resistance from record and movie companies that have hit on the idea that, while the iTunes store has sold a lot of iPods for Apple, it hasn’t done much for anyone else. This is debatable, of course. But recent news that NBC and Universal may be pulling their content from the iTunes store suggests that there’s a fierce battle brewing over the future of downloadable content, especially via Apple.
To get more of an idea of what’s coming, here’s what Rick Rubin (pictured), famed music producer and newly-installed co-president of Columbia Records, had to say in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine about his vision for an iPod-less future:
To combat the devastating impact of file sharing, Rubin, like others in the music business (Doug Morris and Jimmy Iovine at Universal, for instance), says that the future of the industry is a subscription model, much like paid cable on a television set.
“You would subscribe to music,” Rubin explained. “You’d pay, say, $19.95 a month, and the music will come anywhere you’d like. In this new world, there will be a virtual library that will be accessible from your car, from your cellphone, from your computer, from your television. Anywhere. The iPod will be obsolete, but there would be a Walkman-like device you could plug into speakers at home. You’ll say, ‘Today I want to listen to ... Simon and Garfunkel,’ and there they are. And once that model is put into place, the industry will grow 10 times the size it is now.”