One of hip-hop’s godfathers led the pack this week, and it wasn’t by much. Overall, it was a relatively slow week for album sales following the mammoth opening for Lady Gaga’s latest release, Born This Way. By the way, Gaga’s sales dropped by 85% in its second week, going from over a million to 169,387.
The Undergods [Canibus & Keith Murray] “In God We Trust: Crush Microphones To Dust” – 591 (26% digital)
Vast Aire “OX 2010: A Street Odyssey ” – 346 (62% digital)
Big L “The Danger Zone” - 268 (3% digital)
Steve Jobs parted the proverbial sea of technology and led us into cloud age on Monday when he came out of seclusion to unveil Apple’s iCloud. During the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Jobs gave spectators a first glance at the service that automatically pushes every update, from adding a new contact to purchasing a new song, to the cloud. iCloud will support up to 10 devices free of charge and every user will receive 5 gigabytes of free storage. The service allows for easy backup of songs, music, photos, videos, contacts and other files, so for instance if you lose an iPhone and purchase a new one, all you have to do is login to iCloud and transfer all of your content to the new one.
Since its unveiling, it has seemed like the entire music industry has been mystified by the prospect of what the iCloud can offer. One highlight of the service is that it will instantly store all purchased iTunes music to cloud for free and additionally utilize a matching service for non-iTunes music which will cost $24.99 per year. Apple’s software will scan your music library and within minutes match non-iTunes music to songs it has in its store.
So what does this mean for the music industry? Former EMI executive Syd Schwartz told Rolling Stone, “It is one way to make someone pay for music they’ve already bought. It’s pretty ingenious,” He added, “I’m sure someone in an executive office at a major label somewhere is going, ‘At least that’s one way we can monetize the stuff people stole from Napster over the years.’” According to the LA Times, Apple signed an agreement this week with Warner Music Group, EMI Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment “call[ing] for Apple to share 70% of any revenue from iCloud’s music service with record labels, as well as 12% with music publishers holding the songwriting rights. Apple is expected to keep the remaining 18%, said people knowledgeable with the terms.” This revelation is also causing people to speculate that Apple will inevitably offer a streaming service alike Rhapsody or Spotify. For anyone interested, you can watch all of Steve Jobs’ keynote presentation right here.