Reinventing iTunes

Tyler Hayes, a music/music-tech writer pinged me to find out what I thought about iTunes and how it could be re-made. Since I was traveling overseas, I replied via email and today some portion of that email appeared in How Apple can turn iTunes into an industry dominating streaming service for The Week.  With 800 million customers and $5.2 billion in digital sales, the company clearly has an opportunity to find success, as long as it figures out a way to reinvent iTunes and once again becomes a leader, not a follower. Here was my response to Tyler. 

When I see iTunes today, I see a static and archaic piece of software that is bloated and old. It needs to feel like it lives on the internet and not on the desktop. It needs to have a throbbing pulse that comes from a place where music lives, soars, soothes and entertains. (For everything else they should call it the iStore. In reality, that’s what iTunes store has become — an iStore. The other option — call it iMusic.) The future of iTunes store is selling subscriptions, access to concerts and accessories and not selling music.

But I have some more specific suggestions for Apple, but again that’s just me, who is a long time aficionado of iTunes.  

  1. iTunes Store should indeed become the “indie label” and should treat “albums” as “apps”
  2. However, it should charge less for music – the standard 15 percent royalty rate is good enough for them to get traction. 
  3. Partner with others to manufacture the old school CDs/Vinyl under the iTunes Label. 
  4. iTunes should start with Radio and use radio as a lead-gen to sell music. 
  5. Make iTunes Match smarter and cheaper (tiered and not be one size fits all.)
  6. Actually launch a music TV channel ala Vevo.
  7. Spend a lot of energy editorializing and pushing “playlists” and creating editorial “influencers” and make it front and center. 

PS: Check out this new app, Stereo. It is visual way to navigate and playback your music, both on your mac and  your iPhone 


  1. eideard says:

    May 9th, 2014 at 8:58 am Reply

    Broaden and energize the other media in addition to music. I love movies – and like you – I enjoy any good series of mysteries and detective shows. iMedia doesn’t get it right; but, they can’t use iTV and they already use iMovie elsewhere.

    My use of Amazon broadened immensely with the extensions to Prime. Our family started with Prime because of lowered annual cost on every kind of product we buy from Amazon – but, when I became addicted to FRINGE and THE KILLING in the latter days of each of those series I was able to go to Amazon streaming and pick up back episodes for free – and started watching other series they had available.

    iTunes has some of the same; but, not all. That’s why we end up with a couple of streaming services.

    Not so incidentally, comparing technical aspects of Amazon Prime streaming now that it’s available on AppleTV – vs a Samsung “Smart” TV – Samsung ain’t even up to DOS 3.1.

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