Apple freedom of expression

In the wake of Apple CEO Tim Cook receiving the Newseum‘s Free Expression Award in Washington, DC, the first thought that went through my head was: Where would music be without Apple?

  1. iTunes. Before we get into the glory that is iTunes, does anyone else remember getting banned from Napster because of Metallica’s lawsuit (I’m showing my age here)? If I’m not mistaken, it all happened at roughly the same time as iTunes being released. Coincidence? Talk amongst yourselves. Anyway, iTunes was the first truly feasible fight against illegal music and they made it so easy that it was hard NOT to use it, want to use it, or be jealous OF those using it. Then a few months later in 2001 they took another massive step for humankind and released…
  2. THE IPOD! Sit down kids, I’ve got a story to tell you… At the end of 2001, Steve Jobs released the first iPod. It was roughly 14 pounds and held about seven songs, but it was glorious. At the time, most teenagers and young adults had SOME kind of USB stick MP3 player or the infamous or famous Diamond Rio. Then, the iPod came out and changed EVERYTHING. It was, and if we’re being honest still (in the form of an iPhone), the king/queen of portable music. So, we’ve got legal music, we’ve got something to play it on, and then they go ahead and do this…
  3. 99 cent downloads. This may not sound as revolutionary as the rest, but honestly, Apple dictated from the beginning how much a single song cost. This didn’t come without a fight. Many artists fought it and basically said, “My music is so good, I should be able to charge however much I want for my songs.” And Jobs wasn’t having it. Putting his foot down on this, back in the day, allows for music to be the price it is today. And those 99 cent downloads mean more than you know because…
  4. 4. Singles aren’t just singles. Back in the day (“the day” being before iPods), there were singles, but they were MUCH fewer and farther between because they had to be physically made in the form of a record, tape, or CD. After Apple, every EP and album was actually just multiple singles that you could purchase individually.

Tim Cook receiving the Free Expression AwardNowadays, we have so many options for music. Legal, illegal, streaming, and of course, LIVE, but Apple is the group that changed EVERYTHING. So I’m glad Cook received the award for Freedom of Expression because the group changed everything about one of the biggest parts of my life, for the better.

I’ll leave you with a quote from his acceptance speech in DC:

“We know that these freedoms require protection,” Cook said of First Amendment rights. “Not just the forms of speech that entertain us, but the ones that challenge us. The ones that unnerve and even displease us. They’re the ones that need protection the most. It’s no accident that these freedoms are enshrined and protected in the First Amendment. They are the foundation to so many of our rights.”


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