I could have written something on the day of the iPad launch but I couldn’t really be arsed.
I was busy, everyone was talking about it anyway, and most of the talk was either pro or anti hysteria.
My thoughts at the time haven’t really changed though, and reflecting on how things are gradually moving ahead with the iPad, I thought I should get round to writing them down…
The hype – there was a lot. Seriously. Rolling news channels, all kinds of online sites, newspapers and magazines. And offline. Someone was going to be disappointed. Lots of people actually. Mainly those who were either daft enough to expect something impossibly miraculous, or those who were cynical enough to want the launch to be an anti-climax.
Was there too much hype? Yep – certainly in terms of justifying the actual specific product as it stood on the day. HOWEVER, and it’s a very big however – I can’t help but think that in a few short years that hype *will* be felt to be justified. And everybody will have forgotten about the exact iPad on the launch day. The hype won’t be justified by what the iPad was on that day but by what it became over the following months and years.
And there’s a very good parallel / precedent.
Two in fact…
Say hello to the iPod and the iPhone…
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Apple’s App Store – part of iTunes, and used for buying applications and games for the iPhone and iPod Touch, turns 1 year old, having put over 56,000 apps on its virtual shelves and had over a billion downloads.
They’re celebrating with some special download offers on their most popular apps…
Cult of Mac brings news that in an interview with TIME magazine Van Morrison has made clear his intention to withdraw from the iTunes Music Store; giving us the benefit of such dubious bits of wisdom as “I’m not a download artist” (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean…) to explain the curious decision – quite frankly I’d want my offerings everywhere possible in such tough times, especially when it appears that iTMS is operating in a pretty healthy way compared to offline purchasing in general.
What is interesting to me in all this is certainly not Van Morrison himself (who I only really know as a narky old curmudgeon who had the poor judgement to record something with Cliff Richard…) – no, it’s more his general attitude to iTMS in context of his portfolio on the Store.
Go look; he has a bog-standard list of albums.
And that’s it.
That’s his contribution to making iTunes work for him.
If I was a recording artist who was working with iTMS, not only would I work bloody hard to ensure that all albums, singles and any kind of B-sides and bonus-y type stuff was available, I’d also be making sure I used the Store 100% to engage more with fans.
Get all the promo videos out there – and the “making of” videos. Podcasts of course – probably video ones. Why not “digital booklets” (that’s actually just a posh title for PDFs to be honest) of ongoing news and photos, of studio notes and tour diaries? Why not dust off old and rare material and get it out there? Look at digitising old live stuff that’s not worth pressing DVDs of, but which fans would download in a heartbeat? Documentaries, iCals, downloads of the winning entries from special fan-remix challenges? The potential is pretty much as limitless as your imagination.
Which in Van Morrison’s case would appear to be pretty bloody limited indeed.
As far as I can see if you’re not thinking of things like that then you’re a lazy dimwit who doesn’t deserve to succeed on iTMS. It’s a pretty sure sign that Van Morrison certainly should withdraw – I have no idea how far he’d be missed; probably not much so long as “Brown Eyed Girl” is still available on some oldie compilation album somewhere.
He’s as myopic as the record companies still tend to be.
Long live iTunes and all its possibilities for the creative artist.
And while we’re about it, let’s see a few more artists actually getting creative with iTunes…
More than a couple of times I’ve used this blog to publish news about Spanish band El Canto Del Loco. Well, I’ve finally decided that rather than knock out the odd story here (although I’ll probably do exactly that anyway…), it would make more sense to actually build a news, info and downloads site about them…
As a result, I’ve built and launched www.elcantodelloco.co.uk – an El Canto Del Loco fansite in English which aims to spread the word about them to people outside of Spain and to pass on news and info in the English language.
If you or anyone you know likes ECDL or is curious then please do point your browser at the site to keep up with the band and their activities (especially if they ever include activities in the UK, which I desparately hope they will…)
Already the site includes info on all their albums; De personas a personas, Personas, Arriba el telón, Zapatillas, Estados de ánimo, A contracorriente, and El Canto del Loco – plus videoclips, desktop wallpaper, weblinks, news on record sales and info on a cool introductory El Canto Del Loco iMix you can grab from iTunes.
Big thanks to Nigel from Philosophy Bites for telling me about the companion podcast “Ethics Bites” which you can get from here on the interweb or through iTunes by clicking here…
It contains some episodes which are also in the Philosohpy Bites podcast, but mostly this stuff is completely fresh and separate.