Catching Up With Apple

  • Posted: 21 August 2007 09:12 PM

    I discussed the MTV, RealNetworks, Verizon trio today - forming a new venture called Rhapsody America.  A thought occurred to me.  What would it take to capture the online digital music business from Apple?  Rhapsody America consists of three companies with experience, and my prognosis is for, at most, a small dent in Apple’s market share.

    The question I pose is: What would it take to seize the online digital music business from Apple?  How would it be approached?  How much money would it take?  What Apple weaknesses, if any, could be exploited? The sky’s the limit.
    Is it possible?

         
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    Posted: 21 August 2007 10:37 PM #1

    Safari

    Well being able to make purchases using a Mac would be a good start.

    Then being able to import the files into iTunes would take me further down the “track.”

    Finally they have to offer genres that I want: Jazz, Blues, R&B, World (as Apple calls it), Folk, some Classical, as well as audiobooks. I could care less about the stuff that MTV touts. Of course a lot of younger folk want the MTV stuff, to each his own.

    iTunes and the iPod are very well entrenched. It is going to take a lot of work to displace Apple.

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    “Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don’t believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art’s sake.” E. M. Forster

         
  • Posted: 22 August 2007 08:43 AM #2

    Re: Catching Up With Apple

    You ask, what would it take?  From what I see, it’ll take 3 things to take iTunes throne.

    1) They’d have to create a music player that for some reason everyone must have. Sony Walkman -> iPod -> ?  It would have to integrate with all of the after market things that the iPod has created (car connections, home etc.)

    2) Create a music/video store that has better pricing, music, and features than iTunes. So much better it would have to convince people to leave their existing collection of purchased iTunes songs behind.

    3) A lot of luck.  The companies would have to create a well integrated product with an online store. To succeed it would be like trying to get everyone to use Yahoo Auctions, instead of eBay.  The problem is everyone is on eBay,  Apple has this realm locked, at least for the next 10-20 years (by which time they’ll probably own the video and cell phone market).

         
  • Posted: 22 August 2007 09:12 AM #3

    Integration, ease of use

    Apple captured the market by creating a product that everyone loves to use and integrated it with an easy to use software piece, and a store that’s easy to buy from.  If the Store portion is going to be overcome by a competitor, it had better integrate with the iTunes software piece. Of course, this will probably mean that there will be a 2nd piece of software to bridge the 3rd party store to iTunes, and that means it will have to work seamlessly or people won’t put up with it.
    But if Apple keeps up its image, I don’t really see it happening. Like esydor said- It’s like trying to get people off of eBay. They were first, and people generally like them. They’d have to have a real good reason to leave… and I think they’ve proven that higher fees doesn’t dissuade people enough to use another site.

         
  • Posted: 22 August 2007 09:16 AM #4

    Re: Catching Up With Apple

    [quote author=“j.martellaro”]I discussed the MTV, RealNetworks, Verizon trio today - forming a new venture called Rhapsody America.  A thought occurred to me.  What would it take to capture the online digital music business from Apple?  Rhapsody America consists of three companies with experience, and my prognosis is for, at most, a small dent in Apple’s market share.

    The question I pose is: What would it take to seize the online digital music business from Apple?  How would it be approached?  How much money would it take?  What Apple weaknesses, if any, could be exploited? The sky’s the limit.
    Is it possible?

    Let’s get right to the point. It comes down to the PLAYER and SERVICE. The Ipod, iPhone and iTunes are the the deal braker. With the iPod over billion and iPhone about to hit over million. Then you put up over billion songs sold with iTunes. That is a hard wall to get past.
    The only way to beat Apple’s system is to create a player and service that is platform neutral. Player and service must very easy to use, from installation to song purchase to download to player. Lastly you must dump the subscription service and offer music DRM free.
    None of these competing services offer anything close, nor will they ever.
    All Rhapsody America is Universal Music taking it ball home because Apple will not play their rules. With in a year it will be Rhapsody Who.

         
  • Posted: 22 August 2007 09:36 AM #5

    1) Mac accessible site
    2) no-DRM or watermarking
    3) MP3 or other non-proprietary format
    4) no more than 99? per track
    5) Browser based purchasing
    6) No player/management app to install.  iTunes works just fine, thank you.

    Yeah, that does it.

         
  • Posted: 22 August 2007 10:06 AM #6

    iTunes

    They need to create a platform like Apple does it in competing Microsoft. Digital life in Apple’s definition is only another word for ‘platform’. Like in the years before any iTunes competitor must deliver a design (user experience) that fits into Windows like iTunes does.

    The first attempt with all kinds of business models wasn’t successful despite the full support of Microsoft. The second try is Zune. Not even Microsoft has been able to catch iTunes on its own platform! And now we are in the third round - this time without DRM. This is a back-to-start-situation.

    DRM-free is big value. But the lack of a platform will create only a small business for the challengers. My prediciton is The alliance will fail because of the impatience of the acting people. The labels will sooner or later go to where EMI is. Apple has outmanovered Zune with its DRM-initiative and is cracking the market now. This is the way it works.

    Apple is too big and the music businees too rotten. There is no way competing iT(Z)unes with big budgets.

    You need a small budget, a lot of patience, some IT-skills and a good idea, what industrial music can be – beyond Mister Canadian Whisky and his fellows.

    My bet is on Emusic. They will get the catalogues of the then not so big Four in round 4.

         
  • Posted: 22 August 2007 10:44 AM #7

    I think the one chance the industry has to dethrone Apple and iTunes is to pull their music from the store and align themselves with everyone else.  No one product or software package will be able to offer enough difference to win unless they are backed overwhelmingly by the labels.

    Competing companies are offering solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist.  It’s not the majority of users who are clamoring to remove iTunes from their systems and get rid of their iPods.  It’s the music labels that view Apple as a threat.  And they alone could unseat iTunes by refusing to sell songs in the store.  Pricing and deals alone can’t make people switch, but if suddenly the iTunes store was gimped in comparison with far fewer songs available, then you might see people change to other venues.

         
  • Posted: 22 August 2007 12:53 PM #8

    REAL Networks needs to die a slow and horribly painful death.

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  • Posted: 25 August 2007 12:28 PM #9

    It won’t happen

    I just can’t see anyone or any company catching up to where Apple is now.  It could happen, but as things are now — it just won’t.