Following a seven year struggle with pancreatic cancer, Apple Inc. co-founder and “iVisionary” Steve Jobs has died. He was 56.
Initially diagnosed in 2004, Jobs dealt with the ebb and flow of medical care for years; having tumors removed, taking medical leaves of absence from Apple, receiving a liver transplant, while getting back to work once his illness seeped back into remission.
However, at the time of his first diagnosis, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer in regards to all stages of the illness was 6 percent.
None the less, Jobs had a significant impact on the music industry throughout his illness and the years leading up to his initial diagnosis.
With the release of iTunes and the iPod in 2001 combined with Jobs business philosophy of thinking ahead of industry (where it eventually will be rather than where it is or has been), a churning in distribution methods began to develop; circumventing the aged paradigm of major distributors, the record store, and most emphatically the physical release.
As music became more frequently recorded or translated into digital formats, such as MP3, the digital portable music player became not just in vogue, but the future at the turn of the millennium; and it took no fortune teller to guess what storm was brewing within the corporate world of high technology.
Within two years of releasing the iPod device and accompanied iTunes media player, Apple introduced the first major digital distribution method and retail service in the form of the iTunes Music Store. An online software-driven digital media store which music distributors and musicians independent or mainstream flocked to in an effort to make their music more readily available to the world at large.
By it’s seventh birth day, the iTunes Store had digitally delivered it’s 10 billionth song; as of yesterday it has sold over 16 billion songs. On April 8, 2008 Apple proudly announced via a press release on their website that the iTunes Store had become the largest retailer of music within the United States serving more than 50 million customers.
Offering 200,000 songs at launch on April 23, 2003, the service now offers the world’s largest catalog of music with over 12 million songs; a figure which has doubled since the service became the largest music retailer for U.S. customers.
After securing the rights to retail music from EMI, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Group, and the now defunct BMG upon launch, the iTunes Store has added the rights to retail over 2,000 independent record label’s catalogs as well, the first of which was The Orchard inducted into the service two months after launch.
But sales and distribution figures aren’t the only aspects which are important to divulge into when considering Jobs’ impact on music distribution in regards to the iTunes Store.
Upon closer inspection one might ask how many records and discographies are available when dividing up the 12 million songs which the service offers. However, the fact which presents the greatest paradigm shift in the music industry is that through Job’s implementation of the iTunes Store, fans (or customers) are no longer shackled to purchasing an album or career catalog for the songs which they enjoy to listen to.
Instead, iTunes has allowed for fans to purchase the songs of their choosing without endangering the livelihood of their beloved music artists through illegal means of downloading the songs they want.
For music fanatics, no company nor individual has been as tantamount to the way in which they hear their favored songs than Apple and Jobs. Since it’s turbulent inception 10 years ago, Apple has sold over 300 million iPods to date.
With a heavy heart, Apple posted the following statement on their website:
Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
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Steve Jobs is survived by his wife Laurene Powell, his son Reed Paul, and daughters Lisa Nicole Brennan-Jobs, Erin Sienna and Eve.