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Apple Should Not Dictate the (Music) World's Future

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I often count my blessings: I'm a lucky guy to be able to make a living out of taking relatively meaningless matters so seriously.

During these reflective moments, it's natural to think about the amount of power -- material and psychological -- we assign to Apple (AAPL). Because, in the grand scheme of things, who really cares what new product Apple comes up with next? It's not like they're committed as an organization to the early detection of cancer or something.

But we care. Because we are lucky. Or maybe caring about Apple helps divert our attention from the things that dog us in life. Whatever the case, it's nice to catch some perspective from time to time. To see the world from a vantage point that extends beyond your nose.

With that said, please do not construe this as an attack on Glenn Peoples, the excellent Billboard writer. I read everything he writes with respect and a keen eye to learn. But I just cannot make sense of his latest. It's an article arguing that Apple is giving independent labels a solid deal for inclusion on iTunes Radio.

Before Peoples' piece, I make my opposition clear in Apple Should Be Ashamed Of Itself.

Peoples' defense of the deal Apple is "offering" indies rests on the following premise:

iTunes Radio could be very valuable to labels if Apple can convince listeners to buy downloads at a healthy clip.

Otherwise, Peoples states "labels will be paid a decent royalty until iTunes Radio becomes effective at generating revenue." (I guess what's good for Apple can't necessarily fly for Pandora (P), but digress I do). He doesn't make mention of key factors I brought up in my article:

1. Apple constructed a deal that allows it to stream some music without paying a royalty; and
2. This, for most indies, appears to be a take it or leave it, my way or the highway deal. I'm sure if Taylor Swift's label, Big Machine, objects Apple will make some adjustments, but it's unlikely to budge on pressure from the relative no-names it continues to screw.

Here's my question: If we all agree -- and it seems this is the one thing we actually do agree on -- that streaming is the future, who in their right mind would call a deal that only gets marginally better on the backs of digital sales a good one?

Allow Apple to dictate the terms of engagement for the music industry. Allow Apple to keep the industry stuck living in the past without the sort of vision to, once and for all, move things forward.

Stock quotes in this article: AAPL, P 

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