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Rogue Amoeba – Underneath the Microscope » Weblog Archive » The RIAA v. Steve Jobs

Rogue Amoeba – Underneath the Microscope » Weblog Archive » The RIAA v. Steve Jobs

2023-03-26 18:02:55

It might be troublesome to think about, however again on the flip of the millennium, the straightforward proper to file audio in your laptop was not well-established. Although the precedent of time shifting existed for tv, space shifting was nonetheless an rising thought. The acronym for the Recording Business Affiliation of America, RIAA, was one thing of a brand new four-letter phrase attributable to their hostility towards new concepts. Along with shutting down Napster, additionally they tried to squash the first hardware MP3 player.

This had an affect on our advertising for the first version of Audio Hijack. Relatively than specializing in the app’s recording performance, we highlighted use circumstances like including an equalizer to films. We knew recording was helpful, however the app’s capacity to use audio results wherever on the Mac carried a lot much less authorized peril.

At the moment, our gross sales had been gradual sufficient that we regularly skimmed incoming orders to study who was shopping for. On September 30, 2003, precisely one 12 months after we opened our digital doorways, an order with an RIAA e-mail deal with got here by. That put a damper on our first anniversary celebrations, as we had full data of the group’s litigious historical past. We had been naturally involved that they had been conscious of our product. Sadly, there was nothing for us to do however really feel uneasy and await their subsequent transfer.

It by no means got here. We by no means heard a phrase from the RIAA, nor their legal professionals. As time handed with none hassle, we finally got here to imagine that they acknowledged our instrument’s many legit truthful makes use of. We continued growth of Audio Hijack, leaning in to its audio recording talents. That focus led to it being a premier resolution for podcasters, each then and now.

Earlier this month, nonetheless, we heard a chilling story. It comes from the Podfather himself, Adam Curry, who was instrumental in serving to podcasts take off within the mid-2000s. He’s additionally a long-time Audio Hijack consumer and supporter, one who supplied us with many beneficial recommendations within the early years. Not too long ago, Adam gave an interview detailing his efforts to modernize the podcasting format. Therein, he informed a narrative in regards to the origins of podcasts in iTunes, and a dialog he had with Steve Jobs circa 2005:

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And in that very assembly, Steve requested: “How do you do your recording?”. We didn’t actually have any instruments to file, there was not a lot happening on the time. However the Mac had an software known as Audio Hijack Professional, and it was nice as a result of we may create audio chains with compressors, and replicate a little bit of studio work.

Eddy Cue mentioned: “The RIAA desires us to disable Audio Hijack Professional, as a result of with it you can file any pontificate of your Mac, any tune, something”. Steve then turned to me and mentioned: “Do you want this to create these podcasts?”. I mentioned: “Presently, sure!”. So Steve Jobs informed them to get misplaced, and I believed: “Hey man, thanks, Steve’s on my facet. That’s cool.”.

Even 18 years on, I discover this story somewhat terrifying. If not for an offhand dialog wherein we had no involvement, issues may have turned out very otherwise for our firm.

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