Jermaine Dupri: Another iPod Generation Hater

Wow, it must be nice to live in a world that doesn’t intersect with reality. Jermaine Dupri wrote a post on HuffPo yesterday talking about Jay-Z and how iTunes is destroying the biz. He reasons that Jay-Z should be lauded a hero for refusing to sell single downloads and has proven the iTunes model wrong by virtue of 425k first week CD sales.

Mr. Dupri further comments: “If anything, WE made iTunes. It’s like how we spent $300,000 to $500,000 each on our videos and MTV and BET went ahead and built an entire video television industry off of our backs. We can’t let that happen again.”

It’s a great line, but there’s revisionist memory here. Does anyone really believe the record business threw that kind of money into videos with no payoff in mind? MTV, at the time Mr. Dupri describes, was directly fueling millions of record sales which behooved such lavish productions for music videos. Music videos, until recent memory, were regarded strictly as promotional material and music industry myopia truly allowed companies like MTV to flourish.

Looking back to the music landscape in 2003 when iTunes Music Store was born, Apple was the digital music hero. For the first time, the industry saw revenue from digital files but considered it nothing more than gravy. But iTMS continued growing at double digit percentages, and now the industry has decided to consider Apple the new enemy. Mr. Dupri makes the mistake that many other industry commentators have made: that Apple needs the iTMS for the iPod’s success.

Quite simply, that’s wishful thinking. Apple saw the opportunity to upsell their profitable iPod customers with legitimate music files, and built a platform that made it easy to do so. But if content creators abandon iTMS, Apple is unlikely to lose iPod sales whereas the millions of music industry revenue would dry up. Where’s the upside when no other download stores have proven successful? I could see the industry collectively doing something like this, but the old saying about cutting your nose immediately comes to mind.

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~ by Som on November 20, 2007.

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