Should Apple sell ad space on iPods?

“Last year, Apple marketed a ‘limited-edition Beck version’ of its iPod with no actual Beck music on it, just a little engraving of Beck’s name on the back of the device. Imagine how much more successful and buzzworthy (a crucial concept for Apple) it would have been if that iPod came with everything the guy ever recorded (capturing casual fans) and a generous helping of unreleased material (pulling in hard-core fanatics) — which still leaves room for hundreds of CDs’ worth of music. But such customized iPods are just a necessary stepping-stone toward the biggest opportunity: premium placement on all iPods. If Apple’s portable music players retain their hegemony in the market and the market keeps growing, there will be no better place for record companies to present new music to potential customers,” writes Jimmy Guterman for Business 2.0.

Guterman continues, “None of this will happen soon. I called Apple, and a spokesperson said the company was not in discussions on selling iPod real estate. Then I spoke to three executives at the five major labels (two never called back) and they confirmed that no such talks are going on. But before he got off the phone, one of them shouted into his speakerphone, ‘Damn, we should do that. You know who at Apple we should talk to about that?'” Full article here.

In a meeting last Thurday, “Jobs told indie executives that Apple will not consider the size of each musician’s record label when it promotes songs on iTunes. The computer maker says it will not take money for banner ads or front-page placements.” More here.


  1. Scott, just set the date of your computer to 2010 or something, launch QuickTime once, click “Later” and turn back time to normal. You’ll never see it again ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  2. There seem to be two different topics being presented:

    1) Should they sell ad space on iPods?
    2) Should they sell collectors edition iPods loaded with the music library’s of certain artists?

    The obvious answer to question 1 is no. We don’t need more advertisements in our lives.

    As for question 2, I think it’s be a great way to create more enthusiasm for the product. I think it should be taken into consideration. Consider artist with vast extensive libraries. If they made a Jimmy Buffet iPod, sales would triple!!!! hahaha

  3. Exactly right rageous!

    Much like when a PS2 or Xbox is sold, they bundle in specific games to help make the sale more attractive. By piling in a few a preloaded collections of cult artists, this would give the iPod:

    1) a new marketing dimension
    2) a stronger relationship with the record companies
    3) a stronger association with music as opposed to electronics

    I think it’s a strong idea on the surface.

  4. I don’t want my ‘pod being used for marketing. If Apple wants to sell limited edition pods with an artist’s catalog pre-loaded, fine, but leave the rest alone.

  5. But wouldn’t including some artists music on iPods violate Jobs promise that he will not accept payola (OK, that was for the music store… but it’s all the same package)?

    You know it wouldn’t be the indie artists getting their music bundled with iPods.

    This will never happen.

  6. I think limited edition iPods with entire music collections would be GREAT! Why not offer them as part of the Apple store as an option? Just click ROLLING STONES to get all their music, with extras thrown in.

    Offer special housings or cases for them, too.

    It’d be great to get them all pre-installe rather than sit through the drudgery of doing it yourself.

    Great idea.

  7. No sir, I don’t like it. For the limited edition iPods, the problem with that is if you really love an artist enough to shell out the extra money for their special edition, chances are you already have all their music. Plus, you would have to pay a lot extra for an artists entire catalog. Perhaps a better solution would be to put some of the artists exclusives on there like the ones that are only available through iTMS.

  8. What a Microsoftian concept– hard selling a captive audience. Crass hucksterism that is truly nauseating.

    The first time I see an ad on my iPod it goes IN THE TRASH (after I flatten it with a ball peen hammer.)

  9. The issues keep getting blurred by varying opinions… I’m certain advertisement wasn’t meant as the typical online ad .gif, it was meant that music company’s could advertise their big draws.

    Why do people seem to assume you need to charge more for a special edition version? If Apple were to come out with something like a Special Edition U2 version of the iPod preloaded with all their songs, charged the same price for it (or a minimal markup), but made it a limited run it would create huge buz.

    All Apple would have to do is take the big 5 and say “pick your top artist you want featured and we’ll run off 2,000 iPods preloaded with their music and it would throw other special goodies in the box”. They’d make a killing, and create massive fanfare and word of mouth.

    This is certainly not something they’d just arbitrarily do to standard off the shelf iPods, so I think people making that complaint are not looking at this properly.

  10. Totally good marketing idea, however it likens the ipod to being more of a toy. If the ipod cost 99 bucks and came in a Barbie version, you get where that would be heading…

    Its better mute, only what you have you put in… not to mention if it contained the artists entire catalogue at the time you bought it, why buy anything from that catalogue?

    I really really prefer apple products because they are like wearing the color black, no room for interpretation they just work. Also thats why the funk imacs stunk imho.

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