So tomorrow is clearly set to be a watershed day for iTunes – as anyone can see by the Apple home page. For a whole host of reasons, logic dictates it’s the announcement that Apple and Apple have finally made up, and the Beatles catalog will now be available on iTunes. My question is simple: Who cares? The Beatles in my iTunes ain’t exactly breaking news. Follow my logic here…
If you’re enough of a Beatles fan to own the majority of their music during the pre-iTunes era (gasp!), then you’ve probably already ripped them in at a VBR-enabled 256 or 320 kbps and have them enshrined in their own playlist – not that I do or anything. And that’s just for guys like me who can get their ears around lossy rips. There’s a whole subculture of people who think I’m the ultimate proletarian for daring to not go full lossless. For me, as the title indicates, I actually rip the CDs every couple years to keep up with the latest bit rates and codecs. So short of new remasters or some still-unknown recordings, I got all the Beatles I need. So what can iTunes do for Dave?
The answer is the same for me and countless millions: Let me pay you MORE money to stream my music to any damn device I can dream of! I’ve got every piece of the technology puzzle, except enough disk space for my whole library across all the devices in my life – iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, MacBook Pro, TiVo, etc. My TimeCapsule chucks out a 5Ghz N wireless network that can easily handle everything in the house. But clearly the mobile side of the equation is a bit hairier. To start, I’d settle for an interim solution like iTunes streaming only over WiFi first so the Death Star’s data network doesn’t implode yet again. (If I were really a conspiracy theorist, I might contend AT&T would want everyone streaming music over their no-longer-unlimited data packages.) Apple could literally save me days off the end of my life if I didn’t have to create, organize and sync playlists across my enterprise.
I get there are lots of moving parts to this solution – including the Lala acquisition, a billion-dollar datacenter in North Carolina and a potential acquisition of Spotify, but here’s the point: we’d pay money. Hell, right now I pay $60/year just to have my library backed-up to the cloud via Mozy. They’d still get my document backup business in the new streaming iTunes world, but I’d still drop $100 a year for the Apple service. In fact, here’s a product pro tip for Cupertino: shoot MobileMe square in the forehead, and morph the whole damn thing into iTunes Cloud. It’s not like Dropbox hasn’t won the shared file battle, and syncing Safari bookmarks across my Macs isn’t enough to get another $99 out of me for next year.
So I suppose tomorrow will come and go, and all I’ll get is a bunch more content I can buy. You want to really get my attention without announcing streaming iTunes? Include a set of 320 kbps tracks from Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album with the Beatles catalog. You’d be my hero forever, Steve!