The Apple Core: Has the iTunes Store jumped the shark?

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 12th, 2006, 10:18
Category: The Apple Core

US-digital-song-sales.gifIndustry analyst Forrester Research has released a report saying that Apple’s iTunes has experienced a collapse in sales revenues this year. Forrester conducted an analysis of credit card transactions over a 27-month period and concludes that since January the monthly revenue has fallen by 65 percent, with the average transaction size falling 17 percent.
There are two things that Apple should consider if they expect to get more sales from the iTunes Store…
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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The Apple Core: Hollywood wants to change iPod DRM

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 1st, 2006, 09:28
Category: The Apple Core

Hot on the heels of Microsoft’s deal with Universal Music (a unit of Vivendi) to pay a US$1 royalty on every Zune player sold in exchange for licensing its recordings for Microsoft’s new digital music service, Hollywood now wants in on the action.
Why in the world would Microsoft agree to such a dangerous precedent? The obvious reason is that MS needed to get access to the Universal catalog. My favorite (and more dastardly) reason comes from Macalope who claims that Microsoft did it “to try to screw up Apple’s business model.”
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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Special edition Beatles iPod could be in the wings

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, November 30th, 2006, 10:14
Category: iPod

beatles-ipod-nano-red.pngOn Monday Fortune magazine reported that Apple is negotiating with The Beatles to distribute their music online via an exclusive arrangement with the iTunes store. The deal would be a coup considering that The Beatles have yet to license their music to be sold online and they are one of the last major holdouts that people mention when criticizing online music sales.
The buzz began in April 2006 when Apple Corps Ltd. (The Beatles record label) head Neil Aspinall mentioned that they were re-mastering the entire Beatles catalog…
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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New iTunes Visualizer: SoftSkies

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006, 08:41
Category: Software

softskies_livingroom.jpgIf you like SoundSpectrum’s G-Force visualizer for iTunes (and who deosn’t?) then you should check out their latest effort, SoftSkies.
Designed to be more soothing than intense, SoftSkies fills your screen with serene cloud imagary that moves to the beat of your music. It’s perfect for connecting to a flat-panel display during your Thanksgiving and holiday entertaining. The basic version is free, Gold and Platinum will cost you.
SoftSkies Gold (US$20) includes:
- An extensive set of designer skies especially created for Gold
- Several dozen Living Images showcasing Scenic Castles, Swiss Structure, and Utah Landscapes
- Configurable album cover art support
SoftSkies Platinum (US$30) includes:
- SoftSkies Screen Saver
- SoftSkies Standalone
- Multi-Player Support

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iTunes 7.0.2 Addresses Stability and Performance Issues

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 1st, 2006, 00:28
Category: iTunes

itunes-702-300.png

iTunes 7.0.2 adds support for the Second Generation iPod shuffle and addresses a variety of stability and performance issues found in iTunes 7 and 7.0.1.

Apple – Support – Downloads – iTunes 7.0.2

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Why Microsoft Can’t Compete With iTunes

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Date: Tuesday, October 10th, 2006, 10:00
Category: Opinion

Secret answers that expose a series of myths about Microsoft’s ability to own new markets, how it uses its monopoly in the PC industry, and why its monopoly position won’t be of any help in fixing the company’s broken retial consumer electronics strategies.
Read More…
Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RDM

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DVD Jon Selling the Keys to Apple’s FairPlay DRM

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006, 10:19
Category: iTunes

dvd jon by irina slutskyDRM-buster
DVD Jon has a new target in his sights, and it’s a big piece of fruit.
He has reverse-engineered Apple’s Fairplay and is starting to license
it to companies who want their media to play on Apple’s devices.
Instead of breaking the DRM (something he’s already done), Jon has
replicated it, and wants to license the technology to companies that
want their content (music, movies, whatever) to play on Apple devices.
This may not be good news for iTunes the store, but it could make the
iPod even more popular.

GigaOM :: DVD Jon Fairplays Apple

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The Apple Core: iTunes 7 and iPod 1.2 update confound users

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 22nd, 2006, 08:00
Category: The Apple Core

sad-ipod.jpgWhen Steve Jobs announced iTunes 7 I couldn’t reload the download page fast enough. I was anxious to try out the first whole number upgrade to Apple’s venerable jukebox application in almost a year. In the 10 or so days that I’ve been using the new iTunes I’ve had little or no problems with it. Unfortunately others haven’t been so lucky.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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Free iTunes Giveaway at Austin City Limits

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 20th, 2006, 09:07
Category: iTunes

acl-itunes-promo.jpgI mentioned in a post yesterday that I attended my first Austin City Limits over the past weekend (Matisyahu, Tragically Hip and The Flaming Lips were my favorites). Anyway, on the way into Zilker Park people were handing out lanyards with laminants that included a redemption code for “30 free iTunes” on the back.
I thought that this was really cool until I realized that the code wasn’t redeemable for any 30 iTunes, it was for “a special collection of songs from this year’s artists.” Ok, no such a a bad deal, I thought. Once I got home, I fired up iTunes 7, clicked on the Store, then Redeem (hint: it’s a text link on the right). Here is the list of free iTunes that the redemption code gave me…
(Click through for the list and a free redemption code to the first reader.)

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

Posted by:
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)

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