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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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The Los Angeles Times broke the story about an upcoming Apple-branded online music service. The Merc has a friendly version of the story—no registration, same information.

Essentially, five labels are being courted to offer up their music catalogs for sale through Apple’s iTunes software for use in the iPod. The music would be available for 99¢ per song.

Reaction has been mixed. I, for one, am completely excited by the prospect of this because I have far too often purchased a CD for one or two songs—as I’m sure everyone has. This move would enable me to spend less to get exactly the same thing, a winning proposition for me.

I also could see this eventually revolutionizing the music industry, completely changing the distribution of music. Instead of waiting to release music until an entire album is recorded, labels can release each song as it is recorded. As I mentioned in the 37signals forum, artists could negotiate much more favorable contracts then they can now and can prove their popularity much more quickly. Radio stations would play a lot more of a band’s CD because the labels would promote individual songs in a way that they can’t do with singles.

So what’s the difference between this and all of the other online music services? Apple.