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CDBaby Exec Recalls Getting “Dissed” by Steve Jobs in 2003

If there’s one thing that Apple fans love almost as much as their beloved Macs and iOS products, it’s hearing tales of CEO Steve Jobs from years past. The founder of music service CDBaby.com took to his blog to relate one such tale from 2003 which sheds some light on how iTunes embraced independent music.

CDBaby.com founder Derek Sivers has an interesting tale about his own encounter with Apple CEO Steve Jobs back in 2003, shortly after Cupertino unleashed the iTunes Music Store upon the world — which later became simply the iTunes Store, once the company added movies, apps and more into the mix.

The tale begins with an invitation from Apple to come to their Cupertino headquarters in May, 2003 to discuss getting CDBaby’s catalog into the iTunes Music Store, which had just made its debut two weeks earlier, its virtual shelves stocked primarily with tracks from major label artists.

Enter CEO Steve Jobs, who announces, “We want the iTunes Music Store to have every piece of music ever recorded. Even if it’s discontinued or not selling much, we want it all.” Sivers recalls this being huge news in 2003, because at the time “independent musicians were always denied access to the big outlets.”

The downside of the tale was that Apple insisted that indie music companies use their own proprietary software to create the tracks required to get onto the iTunes Music Store — quite a feat for a small company like CDBaby who had more than 100,000 albums in their catalog.

As a result, Sivers decided that they’d have to charge indie artists a modest fee for the service, which included “bandwidth and payroll costs of pulling each CD out of the warehouse, entering all the info, digitizing, uploading and putting it back in the warehouse.” That fee was , and CDBaby had 5,000 eager musicians who signed up for the service — not to mention iTunes competitors Rhapsody, Yahoo Music, Napster and eMusic who also came knocking at CDBaby’s door for the same thing.

While CDBaby was hard at work preparing these files, Apple was dragging their feet returning the signed agreement — and then Steve Jobs himself unleashed the bombshell that October in a keynote speech about iTunes, which was widely being criticized for carrying only 300,000 songs versus Rhapsody and Napster with more than two million (more than 500,000 of which came from CDBaby).

“This number could have easily been much higher, if we wanted to let in every song,” Jobs announced. “But we realize record companies do a great service. They edit! Did you know that if you and I record a song, for we can pay a few of the services to get it on their site, through some intermediaries? We can be on Rhapsody and all these other guys for ? Well, we don’t want to let that stuff on our site! So we’ve had to edit it. And these are 400,000 quality songs.”

Of course, CDBaby was the only one charging the fee at that time, meaning that Jobs was clearly dissing the company and their service, despite the fact that so many musicians were knocking down their door to get into iTunes.

Sensing that Apple was backpedaling on their commitment to indie music, Sivers did the right thing and refunded everyone’s money — all 0,000 of it!

You can probably guess what happened next — the mail arrived the following day with a signed agreement from Apple along with instructions to start uploading the CDBaby catalog. Sivers considers it a lesson learned.

“I quietly added iTunes back to the list of companies on our site,” Sivers concludes. “But I never again promised a customer that I could do something beyond my full control.”

You can watch a video of the music event in question embedded below — jump ahead to about four minutes in to hear the “diss.”

MacBook Air Bugs Getting You Down? Apple Says Deal With It

MacBook Air internal tech memo
(Image courtesy of BGR)

After being reported both here and many other places online, it appears that Apple is well aware of the bugs currently plaguing new owners of 2010 MacBook Air models. A software fix appears to be on the way — in the meantime, you’ll just have to put up with it.

9to5Mac is reporting that BGR is taking advantage of a new Apple Genius “ninja” this week, following up our earlier report about Cupertino’s internal policy on dead pixels with another aimed at the new 2010 MacBook Air models. As you may have heard, a number of new owners are complaining about display problems with their diminutive new friends, and while Apple has remained silent on the subject, it appears internally they have a policy in place, as seen above.

The internal memo is titled “MacBook Air (Late 2010): Internal display fades dark to light colors after waking from sleep” and provides Apple Store Geniuses with guidance on how to address any customer concerns. The important thing is that Apple has isolated the issue, which “will be fixed in an upcoming software update” — possibly even Mac OS X 10.6.5, which is expected to arrive as early as this week.

For now, you’ll have to deal with the problem since Apple is not issuing fixes or replacements at this time. The issue appears to be at least temporarily addressed by closing the lid on your MacBook Air, waiting 10 seconds and then opening it, which recycles the power to the display.

If you’re affected, give it a try and let us know how it works out for you!

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

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Rumors Of A CDMA iPhone Getting Harder To Ignore

You may recall that last month, we spread word of the scuttlebutt surrounding the possibility of a CDMA iPhone making a debut by the end of the year. At the time, Susquehanna Financial Group told us that a number of overseas suppliers had assured them that they’d been asked by Apple to meet the components necessary for a CDMA handset with a release date in early 2011.

Yesterday, Mac|Life’s Matthew Tillman brought us the news that Verizon wasn’t about to corroborate any rumors of any new Apple hardware on their network, stating that any iPhone news would come from Apple.  It’s our normal practice to advise you not to look at an Apple rumor too closely, but with a non-denial coming from the apex of Verizon’s management, coupled with another credible source spinning the same yarn, it might be worth while to spend some time giving the possibility of a Apple-branded CDMA handset a long glazed-over stare.

In a story posted to the The Wall Street Journal yesterday and then updated overnight is correct, the Cupertino-based tech company is indeed setting the stage for the release of a CDMA version of the iPhone that will see a release in the first few months of the new year. According to “one person familiar with the matter,” Verizon has been dropping a lot of coin on their network to add capacity and is busy conducting vigorous tests on their existing hardware to ensure that the company’s cellular system can handle the heavy amount of data traffic that will no doubt come about with the introduction of the iPhone to their network.

Here’s hoping they’re right: Seeing the iPhone on networks other than AT&T will be nothing but win for smartphone hungry consumers, and will ensure that Apple can move forward with their hallmark product in the game-changing manner that we’ve become accustom to seeing from them.

 

Follow this article’s author, Seamus Bellamy on Twitter.

 


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