How Jobs got people to pay for content

Here’s a great article from Charles Arthur at Paid Content. He explains how Steve Jobs convinced a flailing music industry that the very people who were downloading music for free from Napster would pay for the same priveldige:

“In 2003 Jobs persuaded the music companies – which wouldn’t license their songs to bigger names like Microsoft – to go with him because, he said, Apple was tiny (which it was, at the time). The risk if people did start sharing songs from the store was minimal…Jobs pried open many content companies’ thinking, because his focus was always on getting something great to the customer with as few obstacles as possible.”

That’s the clincher. I didn’t grab music from Napster for the thrill of getting something for free. I did it because it was so darned easy. When Apple asked me to pay $0.99 for a superior download experience [1. Ever download a file from Napster that wasn’t what you wanted?], I gladly did so. The lesson: I will pay for high-quality, convenient content.

Here’s hoping Cook can work Apple’s magic on the film and TV industry.