Yes, the shareholders do run the company because they own
the company. And they took ownership in the company to make money. They may trust in Steve to handle the business, but ultimately they are in it to make money. That's a fact for any publicly-traded business. They would not allow the company to pass up a money-making idea just because old Steve doesn't like it. That's just insane goes completely against one's reason for investing in a company. If it were ever to go public that Apple could make a sizable profit from subscription music and they passed on the option, you will see a decrease in the price of their stock the same day, guaranteed.
The only reason I could see them not taking an opportunity to add value to the company like subscription music would be because it was decrease value in some other way. I don't see how it would in this case other than a few people who just don't like subscription music, but they can choose not to use that option, so it doesn't matter. Why do people get so bent out of shape over adding options they don't even have to use??
True, but where are they going to go? iTMS is the single biggest on-line music download service today. That's a significant chunk of change for them.
That's simple, if they dumped Apple and went with other providers, the consumers would just have to go wherever the music goes, so there's no real loss for them. Pus, if it's DRM-free they can play it on whatever they want, including iTunes and iPods. If I want to latest Linkin Park album and it's not on iTunes, I'm not going to buy it just because it's not on iTunes? Wrong, I'll go buy it from wherever it's offered. There no cost for the consumer to switch from one distributer to another, so they simply go to a source where they can get it. No loss to the record label at all, but a big loss for Apple. That's why the idea that Apple holds some kind of control over the record labels is a fantasy.