CNET Perspectives: iTunes Music Store ‘like half a loaf’ – should strive to do more

“Buying music online got a lot easier with Apple Computer’s new music store. It’s a promising sign of things to come in the music business. That said, the service feels like half a loaf–it only begins to offer the music experience that is possible with the Internet. Apple negotiated some great licenses from the record labels, and there’s genius in that. Others tried and failed to get similar rights, so Apple CEO Steve Jobs deserves to gloat a little. But in the end, iTunes Music Store is just a music fulfillment service. It has done little or nothing to change the ways people explore and learn about the music that they eventually buy, and that’s a disappointment. If online music were approached in the right way, it would have the power to transform and enrich an industry that historically has courted consumers with a blunt marketing instrument,” writes Evan Hansen for CNET.

Hansen continues, “So, what should the ideal music store of the future look like? At the very least, it should provide unsecured MP3 downloads; reams of information about artists and music, including trusted reviews and recommendations; numerous opportunities to sample before buying; concert schedules and tickets; and access to lyrics and sheet music. Bundling editorial content with an online music store is a no-brainer and could either include exclusive material that pushes the service toward a hybrid magazine format, or tie in with existing publications, such as Verve or Rolling Stone. Other add-ons might include short articles that discuss the tools and techniques used to make particular songs. Artists could sell paid advertising links in these articles to the vendors of the equipment they use. In turn, those companies would get to reach a very targeted and receptive audience with some useful and trusted information about their products.”

“How revolutionary might all of this get? One idea that’s been discussed recently proposes creating a real-time pricing scheme for music, with song prices based on their popularity. Hot new singles might spike up to $3 or higher during the first hours or days of their release, while unpopular titles would be substantially discounted. Demand pricing could increase sales for otherwise overlooked works, or at least lower the cost of trying out something new, while rewarding top sellers. I don’t know if this would work. But it sets the bar pretty high for innovation. By comparison, Apple’s music store is rather modest,” Hansen concludes. Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Interesting article, but there is something to be said for simplicity, especially when dealing with the mass market, and simplicity is what Apple’s iTunes Music Store has in spades.


  1. You know, I agree with him. I felt exactly the same way when I bought my new Honda Civic. I mean, sure it’s a great car and I don’t have to worry about it breaking down, but I feel like it’s half a loaf. What Honda should have done is make my car have the ability to fly and travel through time.</sarcasm>

    Some people are never happy! Did Napster give you those features? Does Limewire, or any of the others? Come on, that could all be achieved by Googling, it doesn’t need to be built into the iTMS. Some of it I could see, the rest would bloat it. And if they priced the new hot singles that way people would just complain. Bad, bad idea.

  2. It’s helped me explore a LOT–easy browsing of artists/albums, easy searching, previews of ALL songs, viewing album art for everything by an artist, related “also bought” recommendations, etc… Yes, Amazon can do many of these things, but so awkwardly and incompletely that I wouldn’t bother.

    If innovation means pricng fluctiating up and down like a game you have to play–they can keep it.

    Linking easily to additional resources WOULD be cool, though. Lyrics, liner notes, physical CD gifts fuflilled via Amazon, etc.

    Even without those “frills” Apple has done far more than anyone else.

  3. Before the release of iTMS critics were complaining about p2p and saying a better way to do it would be x, y and z. Things that apple delivered on. Now they need to bitch more or be fired.

  4. Has this guy actually used the service?

    Forget Kazaa, I’d rather not download trojan horses, viruses and other crap that is out there.

    The ability to sample tons of music and have it searchable and even have recommendations trumps Amazon and any other service.

    As always said, K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid)

    btw, I never found CNET to be very sophisticated in their reviews.

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