Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Of Apple, EMI and Matzo Balls

Years ago, I dated a Jewish law student. His mother was a widow, and he was an only child.

Needless to say, the mom was not thrilled with the Italian/Irish goyeh her son brought home, and she didn't hesitate to say so. I'm ashamed to admit I dug my heels in and dated him far longer than I would have--just to spite her.

Now, years later, I remember her with fondness, simply because . . . under her beady eye, I learned to make Jewish chicken soup (the secret ingredient is parsnips but, only for flavor. Don't eat them) and matzo ball soup.

I mention this now because, last night, in honor of Passover, I made matzo ball soup.

I've experimented with this recipe over the years. I've come to believe that the two keys to a perfect matzo ball are: (1) after you've prepared your dough, put the bowl containing it in the refrigerator to cool for at least thirty minutes before shaping the balls, and (2) when you drop the matzo balls into the chicken soup, be sure to close the pot lid tightly shut, and DO NOT open it for thirty minutes. Otherwise your matzo balls may fall apart.


How weird is this? In yesterday's blog, I wrote: ". . . take a look at the upheaval in the recording industry. IMHO, until now, music executives seem to be trying to hold back the tide instead of figuring out how to adapt to a changing landscape."

Hours after writing that, I heard that the EMI record label had announced they would be dropping the copy protection software on their online music and selling their songs online through Apple's iTunes music store.

Wow! This is a complete about-face for a major player in the music industry.

If you haven't been keeping track of the music business, let me first direct you to two posts I did in September here and here.

Back to today's announcement. The New York Times said:

Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, who shared the stage with Mr. Nicoli [EMI's CEO] for the announcement, predicted that half of the songs available on iTunes would be sold without restrictions by the end of the year. None of the other three major record labels, which with EMI account for 70 percent of songs sold today, have said how they might react.

Singles without the copy protection software AND with higher fidelity will sell for $1.29 each instead of the current $.99. Full albums without the copy protection and with the higher fidelity will sell for the same price as the current low-fidelity copy protected copies.

In case you're wondering, the other three mega players in the industry are Universal, Warner and Sony BMG.

Apple unveiled its iTunes music store in April, 2003. Since then, despite the music labels pushing for variable pricing, Steve Jobs has stood firm with the uniform pricing for singles. Back when the store opened, C/Net News reported:

The songs cost 99 cents each to download, with no subscription fee, and include the most liberal copying rights of any online service to date. Jobs has been an outspoken opponent of so-called digital rights management (DRM) in the past, arguing that limitations on digital music will undermine the market for legitimate content.

Consumers have long complained about the DRM software, and Apple has finally succeeded in breaking through the copy protection wall.

There's a risk involved here for Apple. The New York Times says: "By selling music without copy restrictions, online consumers would be able to shop at different online music outlets, of which there are hundreds around the world; those with iPods will not be limited to the iTunes store."

Jobs argues that "Our success will come only if we offer the best and easiest music store and the best and easiest music player."

I applaud both Jobs and EMI for recognizing that something had to change in the music industry.

Let's hope the publishing industry is paying attention.


B.E. Sanderson said...

I've never tried matzo ball soup, but I'm a lazy cook.

If you're interested in other recipes, there's a neat blog called Help! I Have a Fire in My Kitchen (http://fireinmykitchen.blogspot.com/). I know he's got some good stuff there. (I contribute my own recipes when I can, and he's got some other good contributors.)

Maya Reynolds said...

B.E.: Thanks for the hint. I'll check it out.

Actually, Maneschewitz has a mix that is pretty darn good and very easy. I sometimes resort to it when I want matzo ball soup and am too lazy to make it from scratch. The mixing and making of the balls takes less than ten minutes. But you need to leave time to refrigerate (30 minutes) and cook (another 30 minutes).

B.E. Sanderson said...

Thanks, Maya. =oD