Historical Note: The Day Steve Jobs Dissed CDBaby
from the quality-songs dept
Then they showed the Apple software we’d all have to use to send them each album. It required us to put the audio CD into a Mac CD-Rom drive, type in all of the album info, song titles and bio, then click [encode] for it to rip, and [upload] when done.After the meeting, Sivers wrote up the notes he took from the meeting and posted them to his blog... only to get angry messages from people at Apple about how the meeting was confidential (something Sivers claims he was never told). Either way, they got the contract from Apple, signed it immediately, and got to work. In realizing they had to rip and upload 100,000 CDs all over again, and that it was going to be costly, they asked CDBaby musicians to pay $40 to get their songs onto iTunes. Because of the iTunes activity, all the other major music services also asked for all of CDBaby's music as well -- Rhapsody, Yahoo Music, Napster and eMusic. Apparently 5,000 musicians paid the $40 and CDBaby started ripping all those CDs.
I raised my hand and asked if it was required that we use their software. They said yes.
I asked again, saying we had over 100,000 albums, already ripped as lossless WAV files, with all of the info carefully entered by the artist themselves, ready to send to their servers with their exact specifications. They said sorry - you need to use this software - there is no other way.
Ugh. That means we have to pull each one of those CDs off of the shelf again, stick it in a Mac, then cut-and-paste every song title into that Mac software. But so be it. If that’s what Apple needs, OK.
They ripped and ripped and ripped... and at some point realized that Apple had never returned the contract. Months went by. Sivers contacted Apple... and nothing. Finally, five months later, Steve Jobs did a keynote where he announced that iTunes was doubling the number of tracks available, from 200,000 to 400,000... and in the middle, he made a crack about how they were trying to be selective, focusing on quality, rather than quantity, and specifically noting that anyone could just pay $40 to have music uploaded to competing sites, but that Apple only wanted the best. Sivers realized: "Whoa! Wow. Steve Jobs just dissed me hard! I'm the only one charging $40. That was me he's referring to." You can see the clip below:
The very next day? CDBaby received the signed contract from Apple with details about how to upload their 500,000 tracks.