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.
- iTunes Store should indeed become the “indie label” and should treat “albums” as “apps”
- However, it should charge less for music – the standard 15 percent royalty rate is good enough for them to get traction.
- Partner with others to manufacture the old school CDs/Vinyl under the iTunes Label.
- iTunes should start with Radio and use radio as a lead-gen to sell music.
- Make iTunes Match smarter and cheaper (tiered and not be one size fits all.)
- Actually launch a music TV channel ala Vevo.
- 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