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Apple's potential Web-based iTunes will be 'social, not streaming'

post #1 of 48
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Apple may reveal a "big overhaul" of its iTunes Music Store next week, likely to be a lightweight Web version, but the service will not be updated to allow users to stream their content from the cloud, music executives have said.

Peter Kafka of Media Memo spoke with music executives who indicated that Apple has not yet approached the largest labels to obtain the necessary licenses for offering streaming content. Executives, however, said they do expect iTunes to be overhauled, even without a streaming service, and the new iTunes could be unveiled at next Wednesday's event. He said users should "think social, not streaming."

"Apple plays its cards close to the vest even with the music labels it works with, so the people I've talked to are making informed guesses," Kafka said. "That said, music sources tell me they're expecting a lightweight, Web-based version of the iTunes store. The new version would be designed to sync up easily with the rest o the Internet and make it much easier for customers to share their musical tastes (but not songs) with friends."

Executives said they believe a Web-based version will allow buyers to purchase content through the Web-based version. It could also offer easier integration for services like Twitter and Facebook, allowing users to link to the store and share playlists, songs and albums.

"Some label executives also speculate about a wireless system that makes it easier for you to manage iTunes purchases," he wrote. "In theory, Apple could make it possible for you to move a copy of a song you bought on your iPhone onto your laptop without having to manually connect the two devices."

While Apple's current contracts do offer it the ability to add features like wireless syncing of purchases on up to five devices at a time, they do not have the necessary deals to offer a cloud-based streaming service. Kafka said it's "possible, but not probable" that the company could go ahead and launch such a service without the necessary deals from record companies.

Apple first began migrating iTunes to the cloud last November, when it quietly launched iTunes Preview. The Web-based service allows users to view iTunes content without launching Apple's desktop media management application. Subsequent updates have brought about browser-based song sampling and the ability to view App Store software.
post #2 of 48
If the software is in place, I would start the service with the studios and music that I already made deals with. So I would go ahead and start streaming and renting shows at 99c even if its not available for all content. If its a succes, the others are going to follow.

Also, Apple should made it more clear pricing on Itunes is setup by the content providers. Lots of folks think Apple is a bad big brother that dictate everything on Itunes. In fact, they are the ones fighting the studios to lower pricing and allow monthly package deals. They are fighting for internet TV with studios that just wont let go there classic methods of distribution.

Ps:
I could not careless about ipods, please annonce a new AppleTV. I am getting scare it wont be annonced. I want to ear the Columbo line, "just one more thing..."
post #3 of 48
Think LaLa?!

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #4 of 48
Will they rename it simply iStore?
post #5 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Will they rename it simply iStore?

Why replace an known brand name (iTunes) with one that is unknown and has no presence in the Apple consciousness? iTunes is well known and practically ubiquitous and one of the most valuable name that Apple owns. You might as well ask if Microsoft ever plans to change the name "Outlook" to "Microsoft Mail" (which they also own I believe)
post #6 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post

Why replace an known brand name (iTunes) with one that is unknown and has no presence in the Apple consciousness? iTunes is well known and practically ubiquitous and one of the most valuable name that Apple owns. You might as well ask if Microsoft ever plans to change the name "Outlook" to "Microsoft Mail" (which they also own I believe)

Because it will now exist outside iTunes?
post #7 of 48
I'm confused...so what's the gain of a web version of iTunes when I can use the software version of iTunes that actually plays songs? So I have to login to the website to see what my "friends" are sharing? Then log in to the software to actually buy the music? Why not just integrate the two....?

Is this just going Twitter/Facebook/Social integration just because? I'm a Macbook Pro/iPod Touch multiples of each family, but this is just a let down. Zune store still wins with its streaming/subscription pricing model. I've used it as a free trial when on my work machine and was just blown away. Couldn't justify using it thought due to my deep iTunes integration already built into my current hardware. But who knows, maybe Apple will surprise next week.

I just don't see "social" as major innovation, especially with a LaLa team/code now owned by Apple.
post #8 of 48
I fail to see how I would benefit from an online "music tastes" sharing service.
I really hope iTunes X is much more more than just an add-on online service. 64bit would be a good start.
post #9 of 48
1) I almost forgot about LaLa, RotnApple. I wonder if their tech will be implemented into these new services.

2) I expect 64-bit/Cocoa iTunes app to finally be released as iTunes X. I would expect that such a huge rewrite will come with a bunch of new bugs and a whole mess of UI changes so I hope there is a way for users to have both apps at the same time before they make a complete transition. In other words, seamlessly sharing an iTunes database.

3) I think a web version of iTunes is overdue. With smartphones, tablets and other internet connected media devices on the rise Apple has a chance to lose its iTunes hold if it does not offer a way for these non-Mac OS X and non-Windows operating systems to connect to the iTunes Store and iTunes libraries.

4) Netflix says that streaming an SD movie costs them 3¢ so I can see streaming your iTS audio as being feasible.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Because it will now exist outside iTunes?

Diddy is right, you dont remove the core part of a brand name that sells. iStore is generic. iTunes is well known. Anyone can put a lowercase i before a product name, but iTunes belongs to Apple. They invented the word, they built the brand. It would be the dumbest business move in the history of technology to drop iTunes from the iTunes Store.
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post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Diddy is right, you dont remove the core part of a brand name that sells. iStore is generic. iTunes is well known. Anyone can put a lowercase i before a product name, but iTunes belongs to Apple. They invented the word, they built the brand. It would be the dumbest business move in the history of technology to drop iTunes from the iTunes Store.

I think people associate any iAnything with Apple, and therefore quality. It is the iAnything brand they have been building up too.
post #11 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple may reveal a "big overhaul" of its iTunes Music Store next week ... and the new iTunes could be unveiled ... music sources tell me they're expecting a lightweight, Web-based version of the iTunes store. The new version would be designed to sync up easily with the rest o the Internet and make it much easier for customers to share their musical tastes (but not songs) with friends."....

Since this is a tech blog, do you think you guys could shy away from the "web-based" term and maybe talk about the actual technical differences instead? I know it's still hypothetical at this stage but this whole area is a rich topic of conversation, or should be.

Since iTunes could already be called "web-based" in it's current incarnation, "browser-based" would be more accurate, but better still would be a more technical discussion of what could actually change.
post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I think people associate any iAnything with Apple, and therefore quality. It is the iAnything brand they have been building up too.

People do, but that doesnt mean Apple owns the right or that it would be a sound business move. On top of that I can think of many brands that used a leading i before and after Apple started using it.

When people say Cola I think Coca-Cola/Coke* and assume most of the world thinks that, but they dont own the term cola. It was be suicide to rename their brand Cola. Same goes for simply renaming things with a lowercase i while dropping the recognized and unique term they created.

I bring up Coca-Cola as an example because the next argument that is sure to make its way into this thread is the word tunes only referring to music. Well Coca-Cola/Coke no longer uses cocaine as an active ingredient but I hear requests for them to change their name.


* Man do I miss Coke Classic
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post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Since this is a tech blog, do you think you guys could shy away from the "web-based" term and maybe talk about the actual technical differences instead? I know it's still hypothetical at this stage but this whole area is a rich topic of conversation, or should be.

Since iTunes could already be called "web-based" in it's current incarnation, "browser-based" would be more accurate, but better still would be a more technical discussion of what could actually change.

I think you have a valid point in terms of being more accurate, but if we are talking about the app, not the store, I dont think anyone would call that web-based.
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post #14 of 48
Would rather see a complete revamp of the iTunes concept instead of just tacking on extra features that don't really sound all that great.
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post #15 of 48
There is a good article at http://www.ankleskater.com/pagemaker...20100826104700, questioning whether $99 for the new Apple TV makes sense. Good question!
post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Because it will now exist outside iTunes?

So? Office exists on the web as a standalone product from it's desktop equivalent and yet it shares its name. Lots of other products do this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I think people associate any iAnything with Apple, and therefore quality. It is the iAnything brand they have been building up too.

Not really. iStore has nothing to associate it with Apple - tons of products out there, not all of them having anything to do with Apple - some of them predating Apple's iProducts - at all.Apple tried to do the "we own everything with the letter i in front of it years ago and they stopped doing it. Apple only has a few select products that use the letter i and they almost all date back to the late 90's (when they started it). iPhone already existed as a brand before Apple. The only exception was iPad which is just an extension of the iPod branding of you ask me and even then the name was rumored long before it was announced. the word "iStore" does not have any brand recognition. iTunes does - people already associate it very strongly with their products. Why waste the effort to take a risk on a brand name that might never take off or worse, weaken a stronger brand?
post #17 of 48
When Apple offers the MobileMe mail to businesses it will be a direct attack on MS Exchange. Imagine, equivalent service at a fraction the cost!

Nut they had better fix the Calendar app first!
post #18 of 48
I just wish the Zune store worked on my MacBook Pro and iPod Touch/Nano. I'd love to just pay a flat fee for all the music to stream and store on my device.

"Ownership" be damned. It's all electronic. Scarcity is a thing of the past in the new e-conomy.
post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Since this is a tech blog, do you think you guys could shy away from the "web-based" term and maybe talk about the actual technical differences instead? I know it's still hypothetical at this stage but this whole area is a rich topic of conversation, or should be.

Since iTunes could already be called "web-based" in it's current incarnation, "browser-based" would be more accurate, but better still would be a more technical discussion of what could actually change.

Actually, it's technically incorrect to call iTunes web-based. Just because an application communicates with a server thru the internet does not make it web-based. The web is not synonymous with the internet. In fact, the term "web-based" is more synonymous with "browser-based". But there's a bit of line-blurring there.
post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by daving313 View Post

"Ownership" be damned. It's all electronic. Scarcity is a thing of the past in the new e-conomy.

Ownership works no matter what though - I like the idea of playing my content no matter if I can't afford to pay the rates a company charges or if they suddenly decide not to keep their servers active. Subscription services require DRM - something that I do not like.
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post

Ownership works no matter what though - I like the idea of playing my content no matter if I can't afford to pay the rates a company charges or if they suddenly decide not to keep their servers active. Subscription services require DRM - something that I do not like.

So you don't like the fact a movie you buy on iTunes can only play on an Apple device?
post #22 of 48
Quote:
Apple plays its cards close to the vest

Its chest dear boy...its chest!

Don't want to steer to far off course here, but the more i read into this event the less chance i think we'll see an update to Apple TV. I hope i'm wrong but Apple have a knack for timing and i think the timings all wrong.
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post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by daving313 View Post

So you don't like the fact a movie you buy on iTunes can only play on an Apple device?

If you actually believe that, you are too incompetent to participate in a meaningful discussion -even on a technology deficient site like AI.
post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by rivertrip View Post

If you actually believe that, you are too incompetent to participate in a meaningful discussion -even on a technology deficient site like AI.

So you're saying (without using any third party hacking to remove DRM) I can put a movie I own on a thumb-drive, and play it in any mediahub?
post #25 of 48
That will be very disappointing if iTunes won't stream my collection. Windows Media Player on Windows 7 will do this over the Internet.... One more reason to switch to WMP and Android.
post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post

You might as well ask if Microsoft ever plans to change the name "Outlook" to "Microsoft Mail" (which they also own I believe)

The effect you were going for is lost on the fact that they already changed "Outlook Express" to "Windows Mail" at the release of VIsta. No, the full version of Outlook isn't likely to follow, but at least the question isn't that ridiculous.
post #27 of 48
Shit, I'm starting to get really sick of social. With facebook now being able to check me into places without me permission and twitter coming to TVs. I dunno but I don't think I need itunes to share to the world what music I'm listening to every time I fire it up.
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post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by daving313 View Post

Zune store still wins with its streaming/subscription pricing model. I've used it as a free trial when on my work machine and was just blown away.

I'm not trying to compare with Zune store as I really haven't tried it out, but as for having streamed music on iTunes, I think the "radio" part of iTunes is quite fantastic.

There are 25 different categories with as many as 150 different stations per category giving me a potential choice of over 3000 stations .... all free. If I'm listening to a song that I like I can check out the name in the toolbar (in most cases) and buy it from iTunes store. I've never had so much choice in my life. I have "discovered" more music that I like in this way than I have in any other part of my life to date ... Now if I only had enough money to buy each and every song that I like .... well, that would be Nirvana.
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post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Actually, it's technically incorrect to call iTunes web-based. Just because an application communicates with a server thru the internet does not make it web-based. The web is not synonymous with the internet. In fact, the term "web-based" is more synonymous with "browser-based". But there's a bit of line-blurring there.

Well, iTunes the app does depend on WebKit for much of it's display functionality, at least when accessing the store, and, although I've never investigated this, I wouldn't be surprised to find that it uses https for most or all of it's network requests. So, perhaps it might be somewhat correct to refer to it as a sort of special purpose "web browser".

Then again, the current store is not really part of the "web" since you can't just access it from any browser.
post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

Think LaLa?!

Well yeah. that's why they bought Lala.

I suspect they were looking for 4 main features of lala.com

1. the one time full play (something folks have been screaming for since day one)
2. the genius like 'similiar artists' and 'mix it up' playlists
3. The facebook 'follow' features
4. the actual streaming

I suspect that anything with #4 will be purchases only, no more of this uploading stuff. That way folks can't torrent etc and have the added benefits. Probably at the demand of the labels. They loathe all things that might profit a 'thief'

On the video front, I don't see Apple doing any kind of streaming simply because it would demand a continuous online connection. And with ATTs lack of an unlimited plan any more that gets dicey. Downloaded vapor files (a la the current movie rentals) does make more sense. it's getting the studios and networks in the game that is a problem because tv is based on the Nielsens. There's no 'credit' for anything else in the budget make goods. Shows live and die by ratings. And contrary to the numbers reported, Nielsen is only counting 25k folks on a regular basis. So lose one and the impact is huge.

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post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post

Its chest dear boy...its chest!

Actually, my memory plus a quick google search, tells me you're wrong .... it's vest. It probably comes from the time when all the old mississippi gambler types used to wear vests, where they could presumably hide the odd ace.
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post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by daving313 View Post

I'm confused...so what's the gain of a web version of iTunes when I can use the software version of iTunes that actually plays songs? So I have to login to the website to see what my "friends" are sharing? Then log in to the software to actually buy the music? Why not just integrate the two....?

The idea is the same as what made Lala.com work.

I have a 20 GB music library (not all media, just music). Can't carry that around on my 16 GB ipad now can I.

With Lala/itunes I wouldn't have to. I could log into the website and stream my music.

On the "social" front, I could/can follow folks I know to see what music they like and find new artists I don't know. Or the system could recommend that I follow daving313 because we both like X, Y and Z artists. It's all about encouraging sales.

They might do the discounted streaming only 'buys' as well. Or if I select a full buy, the next time I open up itunes at home, the song is in my 'available downloads' queue for downloading.

They might even have it set up so that if I"m in itunes on my computer, the 'friends' stuff shows up. Perhaps a sidebar option to display recent plays by those I follow, or even their whole playlist. Not unlike the sharing we have now.

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post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post

Why replace an known brand name (iTunes) with one that is unknown and has no presence in the Apple consciousness? iTunes is well known and practically ubiquitous and one of the most valuable name that Apple owns. You might as well ask if Microsoft ever plans to change the name "Outlook" to "Microsoft Mail" (which they also own I believe)

While I agree with you, when I think of iTunes, I think of SoundJam and an application for playing and collecting music. Not an application to purchase iPhone apps, or purchase/rent movies and TV shows (and purchase music).

Sadly I do not think iTunes will ever get any further updates, only the store front will. I use iTunes as a jukebox on an aging iMac G5 and have no intentions to ever access the store.
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

While I agree with you, when I think of iTunes, I think of SoundJam and an application for playing and collecting music. Not an application to purchase iPhone apps, or purchase/rent movies and TV shows (and purchase music).

Well, that's sort of like thinking of only the 13 original colonies when you think of the United States.
post #35 of 48
I'm not a lawyer so I could be completely wrong about this, but...

Wouldn't Lala have already had contracts with the labels to stream content?
Isn't it possible (and even very likely) that those contracts are still in effect (contracts don't normally get voided just because a company gets sold/bought).

If that's the case, then Apple already has streaming rights... and they found a brilliant way to obtain them from the labels because they didn't have to negotiate. Maybe buying Lala was less about obtaining their code and more about finding a backdoor way to get streaming for iTunes without having to deal with record label execs that may have played hardball because of Apple's growing size and power.
post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbowood View Post

I'm not a lawyer so I could be completely wrong about this, but...

Wouldn't Lala have already had contracts with the labels to stream content?
Isn't it possible (and even very likely) that those contracts are still in effect (contracts don't normally get voided just because a company gets sold/bought).

If that's the case, then Apple already has streaming rights... and they found a brilliant way to obtain them from the labels because they didn't have to negotiate. Maybe buying Lala was less about obtaining their code and more about finding a backdoor way to get streaming for iTunes without having to deal with record label execs that may have played hardball because of Apple's growing size and power.

Its possible and likely that the content owners wrote in clauses to restrict large companies, like Apple, from coming in and buying a company on the cheap to get ahold of relatively inexpensive contracts.

From what I recall when this deal was going through LaLas contract were not transferable if they were bought out, so it does look like they bought them for some IP.
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post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

Actually, my memory plus a quick google search, tells me you're wrong .... it's vest. It probably comes from the time when all the old mississippi gambler types used to wear vests, where they could presumably hide the odd ace.

It's chest in the UK and Google is evil
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post #38 of 48
Moving to a website is a good move. So many times I've sent iTunes links to someone only having to resend them an Amazon link because they didn't have iTunes installed and didn't want to install it.
post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post

It's chest in the UK and Google is evil

Do you mean in that country where they say "knock you up" instead of "wake you up" ? Bloody hell .... that explains everything.
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post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

Do you mean in that country where they say "knock you up" instead of "wake you up" ? Bloody hell .... that explains everything.

Tut tut!

If you 'knock somebody up' in the UK, you have made them pregnant. 'Wake you up' means just that.
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