Forbes: ‘competition isn’t even close’ to Apple’s iTunes; requests more iTunes features

“First and foremost, if Apple is going to become the force in music sales it truly wants to be, it’s going to have to start paying attention to the demands of sophisticated music listeners. It’s one thing to offer a wide catalog–and in the digital realm, Apple’s 700,000-song catalog appears to be the biggest. But what’s needed next is the additional layer of information that typically goes with music sold in brick-and-mortar stores: the packaging,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for Forbes.com.

“The new iTunes feature that lets those who buy an album print out the cover art addresses this, to a point. But what’s missing are the other bits of information about the album that typically come with CD packaging–liner notes, jacket copy, lyric sheets and so on. Jazz and classical fans in particular often enjoy reading the jacket copy,” Hesseldahl writes.

Hesseldahl would also like accurate release year information (not just CD re-issue dates) and artist-specific email alerts from Apple. Hesseldahl concludes, “Overall, iTunes is off to a great start, and as yet the competition isn’t even close. But the online music game is just getting started.”

Full article here.

28 Comments

  1. I’m really hoping to be able to buy Anime Soundtracks and JPop. My daughter and I are kind of hooked on it, and aside from buying Imports, the only other source are File Sharing Networks. I’d much rather buy the CDs, but not at $40+ a pop.

  2. Jayplus – Yes lyric sheets and liner notes. Absolutely. The article correctly states that these are particularly important to Jazz and Classical listeners (lyrics more for pop & rock I guess).

    You buy an album on CD and it has the lyrics, why shouldn’t an iTMS song have a PDF of the booklet downloaded too. If they were relatively small, they could even be embedded into songs. Liner notes could be embedded as rich text and displayed on the iPod screen.

    Just have a tick box in the preferences to say “Download cover art and sleeve notes to your iPod” for those that want to switch it off.

    Just because someone suggests an improvement doesn’t mean iTunes is bad, it just means it can be even better.

  3. I’m not sure that printing out the cover art is even that interesting of a feature. My library revolves around my iPod, like many of you I’m sure. Why would I print out anything? Maybe in the future iPods will have the ability to display the cover art on it’s screen – don’t know if that would be all that useful either, but it’s a posibility…

    As for lyrics, those are already available online. Liner notes, jacket copy, etc., um, if you’re that hardcore into an album perhaps you really *do* want to buy the CD? After all, don’t you want the best quality sound, and not compressed AAC files (no disrespect to AAC of course).

    I’m sure as Online music sales grow, and iPods evolve, more info will be bundled with the purchase of an online CD (and perhaps the bitrate on music files will double as hard drive space becomes even cheaper). But I don’t think iTMS needs to hurry to implement the features this article mentions – it’s just not that important today. My #1 problem with iTMS is the inability to find the sonds I’m looking for. And that’s the stupid Music studio’s fault, not Apple’s.

  4. “…what’s needed next is…the packaging,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for Forbes.com.

    “The new iTunes feature that lets those who buy an album print out the cover art addresses this, to a point. But what’s missing are the other bits of information about the album that typically come with CD packaging–liner notes, jacket copy, lyric sheets and so on. Jazz and classical fans in particular often enjoy reading the jacket copy,” Hesseldahl writes.

    Exactly right, Mr. Hesseldahl. When I buy an entire album I want this information, particularly if I burn the album to CD.

  5. really?

    It’s just a suggestion. And I think a good one. Not everyone needs all the features and not everyone uses all the features. Smart playlists, for example, hadn’t even occurred to me before they came along, but now they’re (almost) essential. As you say, as things grow, they’ll add features. That’s exactly what the article is talking about.

    Wouldn’t it be nice, when you’re listening to a song and wonder what the lyrics were, to be able to just look them up on your iPod ? I think that would be great. Pre-iPod, I used to read the lyrics while listening. It helps me focus on the song and often gives meaning where before there was just a nice/cool/bangin’ tune.

    Personally, I’ll continue to buy the CDs for the reasons you highlight (plus being DRM free, out of principle. Even though fairplay is reasonable at the moment, it’s the thin end of the wedge).

  6. if you like the liner notes, buy the cd. if you want the tunes asap, use itunes. cds are cds. if you want one, buy it. because they are not available, nor should they be, on itunes.

    if you find yourself wanting lyrics for you itunes downloads, the internet is a great place to start

  7. I think many of the current features and future features evolve around Steve Jobs – if he wants to be able to do something with his music collection/iPod(s) then he’ll demand the creative types make it happen. He is driving the bus on this one.

  8. This guy has some good points, but nothing that is gonna make the ITMS rise or fall. It seems these are his personal preferences, but not everyones.
    ITMS going worldwide is the rise or fall issue, not additional CD cover jacket information. Russia selling their songs for less than a dime a megabyte is also an issue, I believe.

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