Revolution #5. The Takeover
When the iTunes Music Store was first introduced, many labels and groups, notably The Beatles, refused to let their music be sold on iTunes. Jobs’ favorite band had a long and tangled history with Apple, which happened to be the name of their record label, leading to an early legal battle.
But Jobs never doubted that he would win them over, personally designing The Beatles’ iTunes advertisements long before they signed on the dotted line. After years of wrangling, they finally reached an agreement in 2010. But the Fab Four weren't the only act that took some convincing about the virtues of iTunes.
Jay-Z refused to have his 2007 album American Gangster sold on iTunes. He insisted that the album, a cinematic opus inspired by the Denzel Washington movie of the same name, was meant to be heard as a whole and not consumed as single tracks. “As movies are not sold scene by scene, this collection will not be sold as individual singles,” Hov said in a statement at the time.
But by 2011, the importance of digital sales was too great to be ignored. As part of an unprecedented release strategy, Jay-Z and Kanye West dropped Watch The Throne exclusively on iTunes before giving other retailers a chance to sell the album. They sold nearly 290,000 downloads in the first week, setting a U.S. iTunes record. Even though he didn’t know hip-hop existed until 2004, for successfully negotiating with the Jiggaman, Jobs gets maximum respect.