Apple Owns My Soul (And probably yours too)

by Suzie Conway (Communications), published November 7th 2012

Owning music is a thing of the past, according to the recent news unintentionally made by Apple, Bruce Willis and poor adherence to journalistic standards. These three clashed in early September, when a story was published in The Daily Mail that famed movie star and resident badass Bruce Willis was suing Apple. The story alleged that Willis would file a lawsuit because Apple would not let him bequeath his music collection to his children. The story about the lawsuit turned out to be fabricated, but The Daily Mail’s original story was picked up by several news outlets and was not discredited until a few hours later. Though the story about Willis turned out to be wrong, it’s true that iTunes doesn’t let you own music. Rather, you pay to “rent” your music from iTunes. Knowing that, does it make it a different experience knowing that the music you have…you might not really have?

The iTunes terms and conditions state, “you agree that the iTunes Products are provided to you by way of a license only.” Essentially, all iTunes users are leasing content from the given record label. So that album that’s been taking ten minutes to download? That basically means it’s taking you ten minutes to download access to it, in legal terms.

Accessibility and ownership, in this respect, are becoming more exclusive of each other.  Digital formats seem to be making physical music a novelty. “Owned” and “rented” music both have their appeals and drawbacks. But will the idea of owning music become nostalgic, or even irrelevant altogether? Audio quality as a factor aside, it seems convenience is making owned music a relic.


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