iTunes should be a platform, not a bloated app

I love my iTunes library. It houses all my music, which is an important part of my life. It also has all the metadata regarding that music: ratings, playlists, lyrics, and more.

But iTunes the app sucks.

It’s big and bloated. It’s slow. It does too much and tries to be everything to everyone. On my iPad, and I have apps called iPod, iTunes, iBooks, and App Store. But on my Mac, iTunes does all those things. Why!?


Apple should turn iTunes into a platform: a robust set of APIs that can access my iTunes library, purchase history, and more. This would allow other developers to build really cool music related applications, without having to replace my iTunes library (or mess with the XML behind the scenes).

Imagine the apps could build if you could OAuth to an iTunes account and interact with the music and other data it contains:

  1. You could create better apps for playing music. Maybe a lightweight app that just shuffles. Or an app that specializes in playlists. Or an app for DJing…
  2. Apps could use the songs in my library, along with play counts and other metadata, to build great recommendation engines.
  3. In app purchases of songs would be slick. I love Shazaam to find out what’s playing on the radio or at a bar. I wish Shazaam could just buy the song so it’s waiting for me at home in iTunes.
  4. Ping could be done way better. Imagine an app that simply gets your iTunes login and your Facebook login, and uses the two to create the ultimate music social network.

At the extreme, iTunes (the app) should itself be built on this iTunes platform. It should compete with all the other apps out there that play, recommend, and purchase music.

And at the end of the day, Apple still wins. Every music purchase is still made through iTunes. My iTunes library is still controlled by Apple. I think it’s time for iTunes to grow up (and slim down).

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  1. Delete the localizations, the binaries for 32bit systems and strip the binary. You will see that iTunes is actually a pretty small app (in terms of size).

  2. Still, users without iPhones and iPads have to deal with iBooks, the AppStore etc. when they could have a simple app

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