The sad decline of iTunes

Here is something i have just noticed- I haven’t bought any music from Itunes for over two months and i used to be hooked

And i have a new obsession. airbnb– the website marketplace where you can book accommodation in other people properties. I am currently using it to find a place in NYC. I had never before thought of doing this- but airbnb makes you feel connected to the people you will rent from. You can review each other. You will meet each other. When browsing the pages on NYC you feel that the people who have put it together love not just NYC but all its different neighbourhoods-each has its individual photographic portraits. Oh and by the way – it is much cheaper than staying in a hotel and all in all “more personal’.

I am already browsing the airbnb offers in Istanbul….I think the people at airbnb are great at what they do, believe in what they are doing and it shows.

I think this partly explains why i have fallen out with iTunes. Nowadays it feels like a money machine dedicated to bestsellers. In the early days you sensed it was curated by people who liked music – you could for example find out what the favourite music was of anyone from Jarvis Cocker or Tom Jones… or any number of other people.

I remember looking at Jarvis’s selections and buying some of the music he liked. We were in the club together. Itunes was not just an online store – it curated content. And it could have evolved further in that direction- making it more sociable and including people who loved music and wanted to share the music they like.

Music lovers could have felt connected to music makers- punters like me could have seen it as a place of discovery and pleasure.

But it hasn’t – it has turned into Tesco and is in pursuit of volume and profits. The walled garden approach of Apple has made them complacent and money grabbing.

This of course is bad for music – what is desperately needed more players who love music.

My suggestion is that the big music labels should get together and create a “white label trading platform” that all sorts of people and publications can use as a platform for e-commerce.

The likes of Songlines, for example ( I am subscriber) could create its own online magazine and sell directly to people. Be great if people who love music get to make the money – not just those who have tried to “control the cash register”- like Apple. With the demise of HMV in UK this becomes more urgent. Music is not just about endlessly flogging the best sellers…..it is about the joy of diversity, discovery and sharing.

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