No other company has changed the music industry as much as Apple. For the better part of the last decade, the late Steve Jobs and his co-conspirators have empowered music consumers in ways no one would have ever imagined.
The monstrous iTunes store made it possible for anybody to buy music without ever leaving the comfort of their home. And it paid huge dividends. iTunes went from a small digital enterprise to the world's largest music retailer in just eight years. Not largest online store - largest store, period, a bottomless pit of songs and albums, all affordable and within the click of a mouse.
Here are five ways Apple revolutionized the music industry.
5. Daddy, what's a CD?
That's what future generations may someday ask. These days, people are more likely to download music than leave the house to buy an overpriced CD. Digital-first albums, like Jay-Z & Kanye West's Watch the Throne, are a direct product of Apple's influence. It's a transformation that drastically changed the music business - for better or worse - and we have Steve Jobs to thank for that.
4. Portability is Priority
Apple's success with the iPod opened the floodgates for other portable devices. Everything from smartphone companies to Amazon and Microsoft now saw portability as an opportunity to please music consumers. Sure, Apple's competitors floundered in their attempt to dethrone the iPod and its many incarnations, but the competition gave consumers options and made portability a priority. There's no going back from that.
3. Rise of the Internet
In the days of yore, it was all about Napster and Kazaa. When MySpace and iTunes came along in the early 2000s, a generation of web-savvy music lovers finally had an avenue that resonated with them. For a group of music lovers that turned to the Web first for everything, the digital revolution did wonders for music consumption.
2. Goodbye, Record Stores
New technology will always upend old forms. CD players killed cassette tapes. MP3s killed the CD. That's just the way it goes. And you can definitely argue that iTunes was the catalyst that fueled the death of traditional outlets.
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1. Hello, New Media
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Steve Jobs will be remembered for many things, but his greatest legacy has to be the way he shook up new media. iTunes completely changed the way we interact with media in general. Now more than ever, it's important to get what we want how we want whenever we want it. It is now an essential part of not just music, but media culture as well. And it all started with Steve Jobs and a simple dream.