On January 9, 2001, Universal Records dusted off the 25th-anniversary edition of “Frampton Comes Alive” as well as a deluxe edition of the one and only record by one of rock’s first supergroups – Blind Faith, and released them on CD.
Something else happened to music on that same January day as Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced a new music management format that forever changed the world of music.
Originally, iTunes was called SoundJam MP, a program developed outside Apple by developers Casady & Greene in 1998. The tagline for the first version of iTunes was “World’s Best and Easiest To Use Jukebox Software”.
With the introduction of iTunes, the late Steve Jobs hoped to help the music business navigate out of the Napster free-for-all that was devastating companies’ bottom lines.
“The record companies are in a difficult situation because people want to buy their music online, but there’s no real way to do it, so they steal it,” Jobs said. “The users are in a bad situation because most of them don’t want to steal music online, but there’s no other way to get it that’s any good.” Jobs proposed iTunes as “a middle way, a middle path out of this.”
Spotify’s rise upended Apple’s domination, part of a technological shift toward streaming.
June 3, 2019, will mark the end of an 18-year run that kick-started the digital commerce revolution. For better or worse, without Apple’s experiment, the ways in which culture consumes entertainment wouldn’t be the same.
iTunes changed the world.
May it rest in peace.