Apple CEO Steve Jobs was involved in many industries besides computing, and his ideas continue to reverberate throughout entertainment and design.
Jobs, who died last night at age 56, helped the music industry transition into the digital era, creating a profitable business model when he opened the iTunes music store in 2003. Jobs convinced reluctant record companies to licence songs to iTunes using the same persuasive and magnetic style he brought to Apple’s product presentations.
Digital sales now account for nearly a third of music industry revenues, and Apple said at its iPhone 4S unveiling earlier this week that iTunes has sold 16 billion songs.
“I think you’d be hard-pressed to find one music executive worth his or her salt who wouldn’t agree that Jobs’ vision and tenacity blazed a trail for digital music as we know it today,” said Bill Werde, editorial director at “Billboard,” in a statement.
In addition to revolutionizing the digital music industry, Jobs impacted the movie business as well.
During the 12 years Jobs spent working outside Apple, he purchased a company from movie director George Lucas that later became Pixar Animation Studios. He grew the small computer graphics firm into a team of engineers and animators who in 1990 convinced the Disney Corporation to commission Pixar for a series of animated films. The 1995 hit “Toy Story” was the first full-length CGI feature ever created, grossing $360 million.
Pixar has since released 11 more films, scored big at the box office and won several Academy Awards. The company is responsible for bringing full-length computer animated films to mainstream audiences and its movies have grossed $7.2 billion worldwide.
Jobs sold Pixar to Disney in 2006.
Jobs also influenced the way his company’s products were made and presented, making Apple synonymous with an iconic look, feel, and even lifestyle. His theory of design extended beyond what products look like to how they work, to even how they are packaged and sold.
Jobs held more than 300 design-related patents, including a lanyard for iPod headsets, plastic power adapters for Macintosh computers, cardboard product packaging and the monolithic glass staircase gracing many Apple stores.
Many might see technology, beauty, and entertainment as related though separate spheres, but Jobs used his talents to unite them in unique ways and across different media, an influence that will continue to be felt across many industries.