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Thu 29 Apr 2004

iTunes

Category : Commentary/iTunes.txt

Is it only me? But I believe the music sounds better on my iBook since I did the latest iTunes update. There's so much to admire about Apple's interface design. You read about Party Shuffle and you sort of understand why it'll be cool to have such a feature. But then, when you finally get to trying it, it all makes sense, and you go "but, of course!". Want to do really good user interface design? Use a Mac. Every day. (And I thought I had gotten being a Mac evangelist out of my system).

In all the notes about Steve Jobs' iTunes Music Store anniversary interviews, I think one item stands out - about the two thirds of the music that is not in print anymore.

"A somewhat intriguing glimpse of the future was offered when Steve Jobs said that one of the biggest challenges in working with the labels was getting their out of print archives online. Mr. Jobs said that most of the labels had less than 1/3 of their entire catalog in print, largely because of the physical and financial limits the real world imposes on physical inventory. He added that "it's getting even worse with the demise of small record stores."

"According to Mr. Jobs, Apple would like to get that back catalog on the iTMS. That would offer untold options for music lovers of all varieties to get what we currently consider to be "hard to find" songs." (MacObserver)

It makes perfect business sense. These pieces of music are not in print because of the old economics prevailing. You may have a certain number of people who have a very deep yearning to buy, collect and listen to these old pieces again. But there wouldn't be enough of them to make it worth the distribution overheads.

But the beauty of being digital is that you're shipping bits directly to desktops and then to ipods. You've nuked the overheads and changed the rules of the game.

Zooming out from talking about iTunes for a while, I've spent a lot of my time looking for a business we can run ourselves that uses our own technology, and where I don't have to argue with an IT department about using a Mac, or doing things the Mac way, etc, because I know it all works and that there are so many ways to kill your competition using it.

It seems like Apple has found it. They've found a way whereby their iTunes, iPods, Music Store, Apple Store, experience streaming huge amounts of content out their Movie Trailer servers, and the whole Apple design gestalt come together in a business enterprise which just works and which cannot be easily duplicated because the magic is in the whole gestalt rather than in any individual piece.

This is what I'm envious of. That's the way to do it. Use your own technology, stop trying to persuade people, and kill the competition. It's the best revenge.

Man, you've got to love all this music. iTunes takes you out of this world and into the world of memories.

Mercy mercy me
Things ain't what they used to be
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east
Mercy, mercy me
Things ain't what they used to be
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas, fish full of mercury
Mercy, mercy me
Things ain't what they used to be
Radiation under ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh, mercy, mercy me
Things ain't what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land
How much more abuse from man can she stand?

Marvin Gaye, "Marvin is 60 - A Tribute Album"

Posted at 3:21PM UTC | permalink


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