Joe Wilcox On The Potential Of iPod/iTunes: Think Community

Joe Wilcox of Jupiter Research has penned an editorial for MacNewsWorld on the potential that Apple has in making the iPod and iTunes (particularly the latter) a lasting cultural force. Comparing that potential to, eBay, and MTV, Mr. Wilcox gets into the challenges facing Apple to achieve that kind of lasting success, and focuses on the notion of community as a key building block for Apple. From the editorial.

Creating belonging and facilitating discovery are starts. But driving trends -- hallmark of early MTV -- is where Apple needs to go next. Whether the iTunes Music Store can set agenda for new music is uncertain, but I would say the operation is off to a commendable start. Appleis music director appears to be showcasing some of the best new talent in music, whether by choice of videos, free songs or artist pages.

Already, some of the iTunes store music goes beyond what people would hear on the radio or watch on MTV. The iTunes Music Store carries singles and albums with explicit lyrics, and I canit imagine some of the videos making MTVis rotation. For example, I have seen two different versions of Maroon 5is "This Love" video. The racy one -- the kind of video typically unacceptable for showing on MTV -- is viewable at the iTunes Music Store. Edgy to some people, these differences could heighten the music storeis allure.

MTV isnit the only [cable channel where you can watch] music videos, just like Amazon isnit the only site to shop or eBay the only place to bid. But each achieved a certain level of iconic success through community, through discovery. In the iTunes Music Store and iPod, Apple has the same opportunity, even as other companies create successful competing music operations.

There much more in the full piece at MacNewsWorld, including an interesting retrospective look at how Apple had to play catch up in the world of digital music at one point. Barring a few typos, we recommend it as a very interesting read.