Regarding iTunes

It seems like everyone is talking about iTunes, and with good reason — it’s great — quite easily one of Apple’s best products. Visually, it hasn’t changed much since it premiered a few years ago, but under the hood, it’s a whole new beast.

The Narrator has been using iTunes for a while now. Back in the days of Mac OS 9, it supported his original Diamond Rio MP3 player which, after only a year on the market, had become obsolete in the world of Windows. It was supported in Windows 98 but not on Me, NT, or 2000.

The Mac, however, recognized it just fine and, interestingly, even set a more legible font for song titles in the Rio’s display. And it’s still supported in the new version of iTunes. That was enough reason to use it then, but now there’s so much more.

Ease of Use

Consistent with Apple’s purpose and philosophy, iTunes is really easy to use. Last night, your father-in-law told you (via iSight) how much he was enjoying using iTunes, that he’s been browsing the Music Store, buying music, and watching videos. He’s finding songs he couldn’t find anywhere else. Although only an occasional computer user, he’s flying through iTunes like a pro, and he’s never read a book about it, or taken a tutorial.

Ownership

Some people complain about the lack of true “music ownership,” citing that when they purchase music online and it’s saved as a file on their hard drive, they have no options, don’t really own anything. The reality is, you own as much as you do if you’d purchased a CD. If you’re worried about “losing” your music, there’s always the option of burning a music CD — creating for yourself a portable, physical product identical to what you’d buy in the music store. A blank CD costs less than fifty-cents, and the burning process takes about eight minutes. Sure, you wouldn’t have to do this if you’d purchased the album in a store, but you would have paid more and contributed to the wasteful manufacture and disposal of non-degradeable materials. It would have been less convenient, more expensive, more time consuming, and you would have had to import the songs onto your computer at a later date anyway.

Suggestions

The iTunes Link Maker is great, as will be the recently announced iTunes Producer, which will allow users to encode their music and upload it to the Music Store. Amazingly beneficial for the Garage Bands™ out there.

But Still, some things are missing, for example:

  • Custom Playlists: Users could share their playlists (or wishlists!) with one another, similar to Amazon’s Wish Lists or Listmania Lists or like the existing Celebity Playlists.
  • Embedded Broadcasting: Setup a live feed to a reflector, create your own radio station. Right now, users need to connect to your computer to get a feed.
  • Credit toward a full-album based on songs (from that album) which you’ve already downloaded.

Any other ideas? Discuss.

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