Musical Apple's And Universal Deals

The powers that be at Apple have finally fessed up and acknowledged that something will finally be forthcoming from 1 Infinite loop. That doesn't necessarily mean that anything more significant than a new iPod or iTunes release will be announced next week. But then, smart money is bet on Apple coming up with something a bit more thrilling than that.

Like so many others I was far more interested in what the iSteve didn't say in that now famous press piece that released last week. That it caught my attention isn't exactly unique. Why it caught my attention is another matter entirely. Oh, sure, I'm fascinated by the prospect of the iSteve showing the big boys at the RIAA how its done. The potential for improving Apple's bottom line is equally enchanting, most especially for those of us who own stock. And, I'll admit, that when I first heard the rumors of this mythical acquisition, I wasn't sure how to feel about the prospect of Apple being in the music biz, much less becoming a member of the RIAA. In retrospect, I think there's something to be said for this whole scenario.

Amazon has collected royalties for their patented one-click technology. I'm sure that initially, at least, any Apple offering that allows for the legal downloading of music will be Mac only, just as the iPod was. I'll be surprised, and disappointed, if there isn't some connection with the as yet underwhelming .Mac experience. Eventually, if the whole iTracks or iMusic gig is successful, it will be made available to the unwashed peecee users of the world. Anyone else that wants to jump on their band wagon just might have to license whatever it is they've concocted. That's a good start.

But why stop there?

One of Apple's challenges, walking hand in hand with the Mac's contracting market share, is finding a way to penetrate the business market. If Apple does buy out Universal's music division then they, well, will own it. The iSteve is the one making the decisions. What keeps him from mandating a Mac-centric environment? I've got a one word answer to that question. I'll give you a hint: Its two syllables, starts with "no" and ends with "thing".

Think about the impact of the AppleUniversal music machine being run, managed, and streamed all via MacOS X. Think of the fallout when it comes to all of the studios out there, large and small, striving to replicate the transition of Universal from a small-minded, money-losing, thug-infested gang to one that's, well, successful.

I find my initial reluctance to see the upside to such a marriage metamorphosing into something akin to giddiness. Just think of the positive press Apple could garner from such a maneuver? I can just see the iSteve standing on the stage of next year's MacWorld extolling the virtues of the then wildly successful iMusic division now that they're entirely Mac-based and don't have to worry about the patch-on-the-patch-on-the-patch-of-the-week club, headquartered in Redmond.


Ok, so I've probably been dipping into my son's baby food again and am way off base. Just think of the possibilities though. This time next week we'll all know what brew Apple has been concocting. I hope they do announce they're putting in an offer for Universal's music division. I hope they turn the antiquated and self-absorbed music industry on its ear.

And I hope .Mac subscribers get a great discount in the bargain. I also hope I can learn to limit my use of "Just think" in future articles.