New Tool Makes Everything iPod Compatible

That is until founder Jon Lech Johansen is sued into oblivion by Apple. Johansen's new tool will make it possible for labels and other digital music copyright owners to sell iPod compatible music and consumers will not have to use Apple's iTunes store. It's like Apple's FairPlay DRM and it fools your iPod into playing the song. The repercussions are great for the record industry if Johansen's Doubletwist company survives the almost certain litigation. Labels can implement the variable pricing scheme that Apple CEO Stephen Jobs is stubbornly preventing. Of course labels should be careful what they wish for because Jobs may be saving them from themselves. There is a fine line between the lure of stealing and buying and that line appears to stop at 99 cents per download. Another potential plus is that this work-around could widen the legally downloadable music available in more genres. Real Harmony has done something similar to this, but never before have labels been able to bypass Apple and get around the iTunes business model. The way I see it, either way you lose. Jobs is right about 99 cents a download. Gen Y'ers want it lower -- not higher and they have little interest in variable pricing. They know what the labels are trying to do to them. This is one case where less democracy might be better. Apple has it right. The labels will get it wrong. Anything that helps the labels get it wrong, well -- doesn't help today's music business.