Apple’s Artwork Olive Branch is a Treasure Trove of Data

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Date: Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 08:00
Category: iTunes

This just hit me. Allowing customers to download album artwork for their whole library, regardless of where the music came from, is brilliant, instant market research by Apple.
Apple’s been careful this time to tell the user that iTunes will have to send data to get the album art back, and to say that no personal data is sent, and that’s good. But nobody ever said they’re not keeping the statistical info, and it’s an insanely smart move.
How should the iTMS team know what they’re missing in their catalog, what their customers want but aren’t getting from iTMS? That’s hard to know, because customers are reluctant to take the time to share that sort of thing. But when iTunes goes to iTMS to get album art, it has to send info (artist, album, track…) and I’ll bet that they know whether or not the track was purchased from iTMS.
Apple, in turn, gets a massive database of missed hits. And good hits, too. They can instantly find what tracks and artists people want and aren’t able to get via iTMS. They can learn what percentage of tracks they do have didn’t come from iTMS. If they’re smart they’re analyzing much more from what they are getting, and all of it for free, instantly, without causing any customer to do anything (actually while giving them a gift), and all without running afoul of anyone’s privacy concerns.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens. If I’m right, those holes that iTMS left in your album art because it didn’t have the art will miraculously start filling in across the coming months.
And frankly, everyone wins. Insanely brilliant.
(Contributed by: Steve Abrahamson)


This just hit me. Allowing customers to download album artwork for their whole library, regardless of where the music came from, is brilliant, instant market research by Apple.
Apple’s been careful this time to tell the user that iTunes will have to send data to get the album art back, and to say that no personal data is sent, and that’s good. But nobody ever said they’re not keeping the statistical info, and it’s an insanely smart move.
How should the iTMS team know what they’re missing in their catalog, what their customers want but aren’t getting from iTMS? That’s hard to know, because customers are reluctant to take the time to share that sort of thing. But when iTunes goes to iTMS to get album art, it has to send info (artist, album, track…) and I’ll bet that they know whether or not the track was purchased from iTMS.
Apple, in turn, gets a massive database of missed hits. And good hits, too. They can instantly find what tracks and artists people want and aren’t able to get via iTMS. They can learn what percentage of tracks they do have didn’t come from iTMS. If they’re smart they’re analyzing much more from what they are getting, and all of it for free, instantly, without causing any customer to do anything (actually while giving them a gift), and all without running afoul of anyone’s privacy concerns.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens. If I’m right, those holes that iTMS left in your album art because it didn’t have the art will miraculously start filling in across the coming months.
And frankly, everyone wins. Insanely brilliant.
(Contributed by: Steve Abrahamson)

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