Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Scoop, or wishful thinking?

The Financial Times reports that Apple is considering an unlimited music bundle.

But is that coming from Apple sources, or just the wishful thinking of every fanboy this side of Redmond? I have heard the case for an all-you-can-eat service from tonnes of sources. Heck, I've even said "wouldn't it be nice if..."

It makes sense, if done well. I don't listen to the radio, because the radio doesn't really meet my demographic, at least not after the much mourned demise of Coast FM, back when I was in Vancouver. These days, I get stuck with three channels: classic rock, modern crap and CBC. I tend to default to the CBC. 

Anyway. As a result, my musical tastes have been stagnating, because I don't want to buy stuff that I might not like, even for $0.99. My big musical discoveries lately have been Jonathan Coulton, because I can listen to it all for free at his website, and the Flaming Lips, because a friend of mine lent me their CD to listen to, and I loved the Yeah Yeah Yeah Song. (Most people got into Coulton because of Portal; I'm going to have to play Portal because of Coulton.)

But, given the option to listen to a band like Godspeed Ye Black Emperor, which I've never had a chance to listen to, but I'm pretty sure a 30 second soundbite doesn't do justice to? I think that would be amazing. 

Of course, I wonder if it would be fruitful, even so. I tend to be an active listener. I can't turn on music in the background. I need to hear it. Hear what it is doing. I go to concerts, stand just behind the mosh pit, and just watch and listen. While I love the idea, I don't know if I would love the execution, as I don't know if I'd have time to listen to enough music to make it worth my while. This is why I don't have an Audible account. Not because I don't love the idea, but because I lack the time. However, if it were bundled with the cost of the device? Hmm. If it added $50 onto the price of the device (a mid-point between the $20 Apple is rumoured to be offering and the $80 the companies are reportedly seeking), I can see a 1 GB shuffle in my future, just for this....

Anyway. My point is this: Is this just the echo chamber getting louder and louder as more and more people start saying the same thing? More importantly, is that important? Apple has shown in the past that, while they want tight control over the way things work, so they can control the user experience and make it the best it can be, they have also proven that they do listen to the public, even if they pretend they don't. 

So maybe all those voices all saying the same thing is actually getting through the closed front doors of 1 Infinite Loop. Maybe if we all keep saying it out loud, Apple will come out one day and say "hey, we had this great idea...."

So, I'm on the record. Good idea, if done right, and Apple is noted for doing things right. 

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