Charles Arthur from paidContent.org looks back at the (legal) online music industry before the Jobs Effect:

There were legal services, but they were so dire they wouldn’t pass much muster today: there was PressPlay and MusicNet (from rival groups of record companies), which required $15 a month subscriptions for low-quality streaming (when most people had dialup connections, not today’s broadband). You couldn’t burn to CD. They were stuffed with restrictive software to prevent you sharing the songs.

Needless to say, Jobs and Apple changed all that, starting with the iPod and iTunes in 2001.  Today a huge selection of music is available DRM-free at a respectable cost, and Apple has overtaken the big box retail stores as the number one source of legal music.  With their upcoming iTunes Match service this fall, you’ll be able to re-download all of your music (whether it was legally obtained or not) as high-quality AAC files for $25 a year.  Since a large chunk of that goes to the music labels, Jobs and Apple found a way to even monetize the music that found its way onto computers through LimeWire and Napster all those years ago.

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