While he wasn't a musician, I could never leave Steve Jobs out of a summation of this week's music news. The man and the company he represented had much responsibility in setting the music industry on the right trajectory in the face of the digital revolution. Not just with the iPod and iTunes, but in the three basic legs that support the industry: Production, distribution and enjoyment.
You'd be hard pressed to find an artist who hasn't used an Apple product somewhere in the recording and engineering of their music. Simple programs like Garageband have made it easy and for artists to record their music that otherwise didn't know how to or couldn't afford to. iTunes provided a solution to rampant file-sharing programs like Napster that threatened to dissolve the record industry completely and taught the industry to "not fear the mp3." At the same time, artists at all levels found greater exposure through iTunes than they ever could have with physical distribution. Everyone wins. On top of that, Apple was crucial in the launch of then lesser-known artists like Feist, the Submarines and Wolfmother by featuring their songs, names and album cover art in huge ad campaigns and commercials. And at the last step, the iPod brought the entire music industry into the palm of one's hand in a small, intuitive, aesthetically pleasing machine. Apple and Steve Jobs clearly loved music.
With the millions of mourners remembering Jobs for his impact on the world, we also have to remember that Jobs alone was not responsible for all this. One writer called him merely a CEO who made good products and died a billionaire, not a hero. While that may be true in some respects, courage and heroism cannot be defined so narrowly. He didn't save lives, but he gave the ability of life to countless individual projects. He not only made it possible for people to bring the world to them, but also allowed individuals to broadcast themselves to the world: Their words, their art, their music. We're all participants in Jobs' work, because someone has to make music for iTunes, blog from Macbooks, tweet from iPhones. He and his team of designers and engineers made the tools that changed the world, but we're the ones wielding them. In a sense, we mourn our own possibilities with his passing and that's why his death feels like a loss for everyone.
Steve Jobs put a human face to a daunting world of technology and allowed people to "build an emotional connection" with it, much like one does with music. The same as we mourned Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse for the potential music that was lost, with his death we mourn a loss of potential ideas and life-changing innovations if only he had few years more. We have to remember that he left behind the brilliant people that made so many of his ideas a reality, so not all is lost. The greatest tribute we can give Jobs is to strive for the future the way he did, and to never accept "impossible" for an answer.
Read more about this week's stories at the links below, and be sure to check back next week for more top music news!
THIS WEEK'S TOP 5 MUSIC NEWS STORIES
1) iSad--Steve Jobs remembered by artists for his impact on music.
2) Area Codes--Dr. Conrad Murray's multiple girlfriends testify at the Jackson trial.
3) Cash Cut--Justin Bieber's haircut caused toy manufacturer to lose large sum of money.
4) Runway Runaway--Kanye West debuts his first women's clothing collection in Paris.
5) Caught On Tape--Tupac Shakur sex tape surfaces with possibility of unreleased track.
Jobs/U2 photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Stringer/Getty Images; Jobs/Mayer photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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