iTunes

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!?

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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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At your next party, use iTunes DJ to let *your guests* pick what music is played and vote on the next song

My friend, Al, is responsible for the Remote app [iTunes link] on the iPhone. It’s a great tool that allows you to control the music on your Mac or Apple TV using your iPhone.
 
The latest version added some really great features that aren’t advertised very well. First of all, you can control your Apple TV using your iPhone using swipes and gestures. It’s pretty neat, but the Apple TV hasn’t gained enough traction for this feature to get noticed.
 
But one feature that deserves a lot of attention is iTunes DJ.

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  • Lets say you are having a party. Just select a song in iTunes and choose “iTunes DJ”. This will create a new playlist around that song automatically 
  • Anyone at your party with an iPhone can launch Remote, connect to your iTunes, and see what’s being played 
  • Your friends can click “Request song” to browse *your* music selection and add songs to the playlist 
  • They can also vote on songs in the list. The song with the most vote gets played next

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Al is a DJ on the side and has always been interested in bringing a better DJ experience to bars and clubs.
 
This is the future of the juke box. The democratization of music wherever you are.

Get Truth in 24 for free on iTunes – documentary about Audi’s victory at Le Mans

If you missed watching Truth in 24 last Friday on ESPN, you can now get and watch it as often as you want… for free! The documentary about Audi’s 2008 run to victory at Le Mans is now available for free on Apple’s iTunes store. The film was produced by NFL films and chronicles the preparation for the French round-the-clock race and the people who made victory happen. If you are a fan of racing at all, this movie is a must see. Check out the Autoblog review then head over to iTunes by clicking here and grab your copy for free. Thanks for the tip, Jason!

Thanks to Jason for pointing me to this. Amazing and free.

Click here for the iTunes link.

I’m listening to Pandora radio on my AppleTV. Why isn’t this built in?

The AppleTV doesn’t support Pandora. But, you can use Airfoil to send any audio signal from your computer to an Airport Express or AppleTV.

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One of the new features in iTunes is genius playlists. It works quite well to generate a playlist of similar music. But, it only gives you *your* music. Why doesn’t apple use this same technology to give you songs you don’t own, just like Pandora? They could then have links straight to iTunes to purchase the song or album.

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You could do this on the AppleTV too. How cool would that be? Let the AppleTV play a random selection songs based on your mood, even some you don’t own. Then in two clicks you can purchase anything you like.
 
Is Pandora profitable? If Pandora can survive with this business model, I think Apple would do even better. Super tight integration with Genius/AppleTV/iTunes/iPod could be incredible. Just put recommended songs I don’t own on my iPhone, and then let me buy them with 1 click.
 
Everyone wants new music, and there are services out there trying to solve this problem… But it won’t be “solved” until Apple does it right and it’s simply built in to the products we already use.

Why do people think software should be free?

When I was at Apple yesterday, I was describing Posterous and our upcoming iPhone app to many people. Everyone asked me, “How much does Posterous cost?” It’s free. I think people at Apple don’t have an expectation for free software like people on the web do. At a traditional software company, you build something, then you charge for it.

 But people have a hard time paying for software these days. Google has definitely led the way in providing great free alternatives to desktop software, that have become the de facto tools for most users. That’s great, but makes it harder for new companies to charge money. Users aren’t willing to pull out their credit cards on the web (unless it’s at Amazon.com).

 And I never hear about people purchasing traditional desktop software, other than creatives who need Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, or other professional tools. This is partially because most machines these days come with great software (iLife, iWork).

 The exception to all this is the iPhone. The distribution model is magnificent. Every iPhone owner has an iTunes account, and every iTunes account has a credit card on file. Most iPhone owners probably already had one for buying music at the iTunes music store. So now these same people have an iPhone and can buy $0.99 applications with one click. Zero friction, it just appears on your iTunes statement. Even my mom does it. (This, btw, is the same on the Apple TV and it’s brilliant)

 I wonder how many people are buying software for the first time ever, now that Apple has made it so easy.

The most recently added song in my iTunes

I really like sorting my iTunes library by date added. By scrollingdown I can see when I added albums and what I was listening to atcertain points in my life. My music taste has definitely changed,but nothing too significant. I still love Green Day :).

This is at the top of my iTunes list right now. It’s a popularsingle. It got to the top of my list because it’s the last album Ipurchased, and also because this is the last song on that album. Soit was added last.

Enjoy!


Hey There Delilah by Plain White T’s