Experience the difference – Sans iTunes

They say that iTunes revolutionized the music industry. Indeed it might have, but at a price.

Before iTunes, record labels catered to the general audience; they still do. The lowest common denominator. They find and distribute the music that a general audience likes. by doing that, they alianate all those who like niche genres. iTunes did it differently.

iTunes purchased and offered everything. They catered to the general audience and to all niches as well; from the infamous to the unkown independent. iTunes even took everything CD Baby has to offer —and CD Baby is exclusively on online music store for independent artists (They also revolutionized the music industry, before iTunes).

iTunes’s distribution channel? The iPod. And now every person —armed with an iPod/iPhone and with an endless supply of his favorite genre of music— can indefinetly distract herself from her own thoughts; from the thoughts that matter, from the thoughts that resolve internal conflicts, from the thoughts that solve problems, and maybe from the thoughts that create and innovate. Before iTunes, the general audience lived distracted from reality, while the niche audience enjoyed its individuality. Post iTunes, everyone lives distracted from reality.

Maybe, for one day, you can forget your headset at home (à la Zoozel), and experience the difference.


Twitter: @williamchoukeir

Related: The pain of living with your thoughts or The only way out is through

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2 Responses to Experience the difference – Sans iTunes

  1. Karim says:

    Hey Will,But couldnt way say that music, like all forms of art and entertainment has two dimensions, one that is escapist and one that sheds light on a different reality?Most songs contain a narrative, and all are a result of a certain culture. Some can be melancholic and invoke self-criticism, some patriotism, others a sense of adventurism.Now, when catering to a general audience, history has proven that escapism has been the music industry’s main focus, but with iTune’s diversity of genres, wouldn’t you say that that they have, in some sense, shed light to different cultures, and therefore, ways of thought?Btw, I’d be interested to know how iTunes was able to to cater to all audience, and why the Music industry couldn’t do it.PS: Just met your brother (on Facebook). Cool guy đŸ™‚

  2. Anonymous says:

    Of course, Karim. Don’t take what I write as an overgeneralization. What I write are observations that apply to some cases. Sometimes numerous, sometimes exceptions.Regarding why iTunes could cater to all audiences, while the music industry couldn’t: The music industry was fuel by big labels. Big labels only accepted genres that catered to the general audience; niche genres wasn’t worth the effort for them. So independent niche artists couldn’t get their music into mainstream channels.And then came CD Baby. CD Baby created an online store for niche independent artists. Now everyone could sell their music online without any label telling them they’re not good enough. The problem remains with distribution. These independent artists, although selling their music on CD Baby, couldn’t get it mainstream.95% of the artists barely sold a few albums to their friends (stats from CD Baby). That’s when iTunes comes along. iTunes takes EVERYTHING from CD Baby and all copy cat companies, and offers it on the iTunes music store. The distribution channel? The iPod.And that’s how the music of a niche independent artist who used to sell one album a year can now be found by anyone searching for his genre on iTunes.

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