Something about Apple Music betraying Apple’s brilliance by ignoring ‘The Harry Potter Theory of Marketing’ or some such nonsense

“In their non-music products, Apple, more than just about any other company, has exemplified what I call ‘The Harry Potter Theory of Marketing,'” George Howard writes for Forbes. “That is, just as The Mirror of Erised, that Harry Potter stumbles upon in the attic of Hogwarts reflects back at him what he desires (‘Erised’ is ‘Desire’ in reverse) most, Apple’s products tend to reflect back at those who use them a more-idealized version of themselves.”

“In short, Apple isn’t really selling a computer, they’re selling the possibility of creativity. This is a powerful aspirational tug that Apple holds over customers, and because of it, Apple commands higher profit margins than their competitors who are attempting to attract customers with features… This feature parity, of course, leads to commoditization, and – ultimately – to a price war/race to the bottom,” Howard writes. “Apple in their non-music offerings avoids the perils of commoditization by not focusing on features, but rather by creating products that reflect a more-idealized version of the customer back at them.”

“Yesterday’s announcement of Apple Music really was about features,” Howard writes. “It’s too bad for Apple, for music, and for musicians that they don’t appear to be applying the same ingenuity to music as they do for their other products; I’d love to see what they would come up with if they did.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Nice little theory, however it utterly fails to jibe with reality.

Yes, portions of the WWDC keynote presentation blew; some of the Apple Music bits, in particular. Before Apple’s next keynote, Tim Cook needs to a) get a competent keynote producer and b) if he already has one, listen to his competent keynote producer next time. The whole Iovine/Drake portion should never have gone public. Don’t mistake a spotty keynote presentation for a marketing campaign. Let’s move past the WWDC keynote now, shall we?

Below is how the real world, the 99.6% who do not watch Apple Worldwide Developer Conference keynotes, will be introduced to Apple Music.

Behold, “The Harry Potter Theory of Marketing” in action:


  1. Yes, the Apple Music presentation at WWDC really sucked; but we’ll have to wait and see how the music service itself fares with Apple’s customers.

      1. Exactly..the whole concept was OFF–from the presentation itself to the ‘whoever thought that making this weak-ass product the centerpiece of the WWDC’ was a good idea. I’ve just rarely seen Apple misfire this badly before..

      1. Scientists talk about the Goldilocks theory in fields such as physiology, astrology, communication, economics and medicine.

        Unless you really believe that a little girl visited the house of a family of porridge-eating bears who sat on chairs and slept in beds, I think you’ll find that Goldilocks was a work of fiction and therefore the Goldilocks theory is based on fiction.

  2. Did you see the headline about the amphibious pitcher debuting in baseball? The question that headline raises is about the responsibility of editors to think and to review and to edit.

    Why didn’t the Forbes editors read this story before agreeing to publish it? (A story about Apple customers wanting to “create” ignores the overwhelming evidence that the majority of Apple’s customers do not use Apple’s creative products, that the resurgence of Apple was due first to the iPod and iTunes on Windows and then due to the iPhone and iTunes on Windows rather than any desire to create on a Mac with a C major startup tone).

    1. you nailed it in my view.

      From what we have seen (which no doubt is great in terms of OSes) what exactly was about the “epicenter of change” and the square designed the middle of the banner? Nothing reminded me of the reason for that choice of the tagline which instead a new AppleTV with HomeKit would have perfectly fit the motto

    2. Exactly. That part was thrown together, with little rehearsal, because of an important industry Player holding out on Apple, hoping for the deadline burn and a cool bluff for better terms. But Apple still pulses with Steve Jobs moxie, the bluff was called, and said Player was hung out to dry. Nobody blackmails Apple.

  3. Apple royally screwed the pooch with their lack of an AppleTV announcement. And if it turns out it was because they let a content provider hold them up, that’s even worse. You can’t hitch your wagon to content providers.

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