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Friday, April 11, 2003
Apple Reportedly in Talks to Buy Universal Music
Subhed: A deal could yield up to $6 billion for parent firm Vivendi and make tech maverick Steve Jobs the most powerful figure in the record business.

Whoa. This is the company that had a "Rip. Burn. Share." campaign a while back, you'll remember, and UMG has been one of the leaders of the copy-protection racket. To say nothing of the iPod. Check this, though:

Defying conventional wisdom, Jobs apparently is betting that music is finally on the verge of becoming a profitable presence on the Internet. Apple has been quietly testing a service that some music business insiders believe could pave the way for widespread online distribution of songs.

Wow. That could solve the piracy problems, couldn't it? We all know that the world's just waiting for a workable MP3 service to come along to kill the free ones, and it seems like if anyone could do it, it'd be Apple. Pretty interesting.

On another note, I wanted to highlight another review that ran the same day as the YLT one, which is a much better model for a negative review, I think: William Bowers' review of Cex's new (and by "new" I mean "6 months old") album. I don't entirely agree with Bowers' assesment, but I think it's generally right-on and far more analytical and encouraging than grumpily trash-happy. The penultimate paragraph sums it up well:

His embarrassing flow suggests the Fresh Prince's early crap, or a pubescent Prime Minister Pete Nice. Only three beats on the album aren't cursory, and even his great backing tracks subscribe, unfortunately, to the dynamics of the indie rock Cex loved, saving their best moments for the choruses instead of rocking the whole time. The "serious" passages are uncomfortably close cousins of Cex's online blogs. The record seems like an aural playbill for Cex's swell live show instead of a stand-alone effort. He's frequently hilarious (the Jesus stuff, the Preparation H ref, the Morningstar corn dog allusion, the smart and party-denial-trolling line about orgasms that make his partner forget Afghanistan), but he seems capable of being much more than a glitch-hop Andy Dick.

This, Pitchforkians, is why people like Bowers best: he doesn't come off like a bitter old queen (joke), but more like a music lover who really wants to see it get better.