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Summary:

Ted Wallingford has an interesting idea – Apple should turn iTunes into indyTunes. Now that the company CEO Steve Jobs has picked a fight thrown the gauntlet to with the music industry, challenging them to allow him to sell DRM-free music, Wallingford writes that Apple should […]

Ted Wallingford has an interesting idea – Apple should turn iTunes into indyTunes. Now that the company CEO Steve Jobs has picked a fight thrown the gauntlet to with the music industry, challenging them to allow him to sell DRM-free music, Wallingford writes that Apple should get independents to upload their music, form communities, and then share the profits with these indies.

Intriguing idea, but one wonders if it makes sense for Apple & Co. to start off just with the indie labels instead of all artists.

By Om Malik

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  1. the majors rule most of the market. iTunes would loose market share, and they’d have to lay-off people in the iTunes store.

    You, and many others may listen to indie music, thinking how much better it is; but the average joe, is still an idiot, and still listens to “Justin Timberlake”…i bet you even like, “I’m bringing sexy back.”

    that ain’t indie. The “Boards of Canada” are indie.

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  2. Om, Om, Om…you are SO right on the money but I’d go far beyond the indies and expand this “iTunes 2.0″ concept to embrace all the intellectual capital generators among us that aren’t getting GigaOM, PodTech, or PodShow type investments to build our own respective “channels” for our content.

    As a blogger with an infrequent podcast — though am really hot on the possibilities inherent in podcasting — I’ve continued to be pissed off at Apple for burying most podcasts. It’s the most God-awful taxonomy that makes it really hard to find MY podcast…let alone any others (other than the top 50 or 100 in each category).

    Right this moment I could point you to at least a dozen companies I interact with that would love to find a way to monetize their podcasting efforts via iTunes. Yes, there are many other schemes out there for building a channel or selling content, but the no-brainer, drop-dead-simple method for most people is to buy content in the same interface they use to manage their music.

    Would this sell more iPods? Ya think? These same dozen companies I mentioned have all asked me if they’d be able to buy dozens or hundreds of iPod Nano’s, for example, pre-populated with their content. There are probably legitimate methods of doing this, but I can’t find any. Instead, giving their customers a Nano and “exclusive” credits for only the content they provide on iTunes would certainly kickstart this delivery.

    Video too. Instead of Apple allowing Brightcove and the other 200+ video offerings to bypass iTunes video altogether, it could easily be THE way for content creators of visual media to monetize their stuff too.

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  3. Many indies already offered to do this with their music being DRM free, but Steve said no. Steve hasn’t really picked a fight with the labels. It just looks that way.

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  4. Apple is way behind on web 2.0 things. They could easily have been the better myspace choice, but so far have not even tried. Just imagine an iTunes store where you could listen to songs that bands have posted on their pages and then choose which ones to buy.

    I would love to be in charge of the .Mac and online groups of Apple… I really feel they are just falling behind more and more.

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  5. “Many indies already offered to do this with their music being DRM free, but Steve said no. Steve hasn’t really picked a fight with the labels. It just looks that way.”

    Jobs’ strategy is unfolding. It is an ongoing process. I think Indies are coming, but they WON’T be P2P, for security reasons. I’ll bet “vetted” indie.

    And, yes, Timberlake has less talent than a Gerbil. His finest moment was probably that “accidental” Janet Jackson thing, which was a rip-off (no pun intended) of the Mick Jagger / Tina Turner thing from– Farm Aid, was it?

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  6. Songbird the perfect example of a Web 2.0 music/video app that we’re talking about.

    It’s still a bit buggy but it is everything right now in it’s current incarnation that iTunes could be. And it works as a podcatcher as well.

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  7. tina,

    thanks for the comment. yes “picked a fight” was poor choice of words – changed it and made the emphasis, because like you, I kinda feel that Jobs is passing the buck on this one, and needs to do more than just post an essay on the web.

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  8. Kris

    I think you are spot on with songbird, but the trick is in distribution and mind share. i think apple has that. if only they would listen to you – thanks for reminding me of songbird again.

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  9. Sounds like the model behind Sellaband. I just blogged about them, what DRM-free content does for iTunes and their competitors, what happens when “fair use” and virtual worlds collide, and my latest theory on the perfect storm brewing behind DRM, iTunes, EMI & The Beatles.

    Check them out, I’d be interested in others’ takes on them all…

    http://globallistic.blogspot.com

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  10. I would kill for a Last.FM platform integrated right into iTunes. The ability to make your own radio station based on your listening habits, etc that people could listen to and have one click downloading from the store etc. A friends list where you could see what other people are listening to, get a 30 second preview of it by double clicking, one click purchasin etc. Recommendations, groups around genres/artists. The potential is huge.

    Im almost certain the Zune guys are working towards this.

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