#itunes

Matthew Panzarino:

One of the most intriguing components of the new iTunes Extras system is that they aren’t set in stone. Because they’re based on a flexible framework that Apple offers to studios, and they’re served from the cloud, they can be added to over time.

There is potential here to create a living library that allows additional content to be served to your existing library. That’s a big selling point for digital purchases over physical ones, just as many studios are finally getting on the digital bandwagon.

For me, this truly is a “finally”. Like Panzarino, I was a huge DVD buff — not because of the format itself, but because of the extras included with the films. Apple started to include them long ago, but only in a half-assed way, and oddly not on the Apple TV.

Scanning over the extras highlighted by Apple, I still am a bit saddened to see only a few titles with commentary tracks. Those were hands-down my favorite extras. But, as noted, studios can add additional content over time, and Apple ensures it will be available for free.

Ed Christman:

Apple has opened exploratory talks with senior label executives about the possibility of launching an on-demand streaming service that would rival Spotify and Beats Music, according to three people familiar with the talks. Apple is also thinking about adding an iTunes App for Android phones, the Google rival that has been growing faster than the iPhone, these sources said. The surprising discussions are part of a multi-pronged strategy to deal with the double-digit decline in U.S. download sales at Apple’s iTunes Music Store, the largest music retailer.

I’d be surprised to see iTunes for Android — I know, I know, there is iTunes for Windows. But this is an entirely different battleground.

I’d be not-at-all surprised to see a “Spotify-like” version of iTunes. I’m not shocked it hasn’t happened yet given how dominant Apple is in music sales, but it’s so obviously the way of the future. My bet is next year.

Ben Fritz:

After years of trying to convince consumers to buy movies online, Hollywood found a solution in 2013: Make it the only option.

Sounds like the ploy worked — but:

Digital growth just barely made up for ongoing declines in sales and rentals of physical discs. The total U.S. home-entertainment market remains well below its peak of more than $22 billion 2004, a drop that has squeezed the profits of every studio and led to widespread cost cutting.

And buried at the end:

Also helping digital sales, executives said, have been price cuts that mean most releases are now offered for $15 to $20.

In other words, digital sales of films are doing better because Hollywood created new (false) release windows and slashed prices — but they’re still not doing anywhere near as well as the DVD heydays.

I would credit two other things as well. First, Netflix is becoming less and less about movies, so services that are actually about movies, like iTunes, are seeing better sales. Second, with services like iTunes in the Cloud, I no longer have to download and store several gigabytes of data when I buy a movie. Instead, I can just stream it when I want it. Yes, I still “own” it, but I store it elsewhere.

So when a rental costs $5 but will only be available in two weeks, and a purchase costs $15 available immediately, I’m now buying more films again — especially because I don’t have to worry about where to store them. And $15 is actually now about the price of a ticket for one to the movie theater.

Bill Carter:

What truly turned their fortunes, however, was that in the first week that NBC shows were available for purchase on iTunes, episodes of “The Office” occupied four of the top five spots. Suddenly NBC was impressed, especially by the makeup of the audience: young, college-educated and affluent. Most shows were made available to such outlets as networks sought new revenue, but “The Office” fit the iTunes audience precisely.

From a show that was going to be cancelled to a nine season run. Makes you wish iTunes had begun selling television shows when Firefly was still around.

ninjafrog asked:

What's the problem with ripping DVDs? It takes me 20 minutes with handbrake on my iMac. Then I stream them to my jail broken aTV or my iOS device with an app "Air Video".

Yeah, regular users are never going to do that. Never. The solution needs to be similar to iTunes Match: put a DVD in a drive, connect to iTunes, pay $5 (or a monthly/yearly fee), get unlimited access to the HD digital version through iCloud.

Humorous that the biggest barrier to entry there may be the death of the optical disc drive.

rickwebb
rickwebb:

Two iTunes comments for the day:
1) I just noticed that while our visualizer Magnetosphere is still in iTunes, they have added three new ones in OS 10.8. Weird. 
2) In case you didn’t know, in Magnetosphere (er, “iTunes Visualizer”), you can hit command-? to get a list of commands to control it. In addition to those commands, hitting + or - increases the number of nodes, and hitting a and s increases the number of particles. I just noticed those weren’t in the list of commands. All these years and people probably haven’t known about that functionality. 
(Still immensely proud of Robert and Andrew for building this thing. So psyched it’s still there in iTunes, 5 years later. And me in my meager product manager role? Scariest legal negotiation of my life, too. Most proud of the fact that we negotiated with Steve et al to publicly acknowledge the acquisition. Not an easy thing in those days.)
3) New tip I just learned - in iTunes 11, you can easily download all of the old music you’ve bought through the years in ITMS. The other day I downloaded it all onto my MacBook, then made a playlist of hits. So many great old $0.99 purchases of one-it wonders I had completely forgotten about. Been listening to the playlist for days and it is still awesome. 

rickwebb:

Two iTunes comments for the day:

1) I just noticed that while our visualizer Magnetosphere is still in iTunes, they have added three new ones in OS 10.8. Weird. 

2) In case you didn’t know, in Magnetosphere (er, “iTunes Visualizer”), you can hit command-? to get a list of commands to control it. In addition to those commands, hitting + or - increases the number of nodes, and hitting a and s increases the number of particles. I just noticed those weren’t in the list of commands. All these years and people probably haven’t known about that functionality. 

(Still immensely proud of Robert and Andrew for building this thing. So psyched it’s still there in iTunes, 5 years later. And me in my meager product manager role? Scariest legal negotiation of my life, too. Most proud of the fact that we negotiated with Steve et al to publicly acknowledge the acquisition. Not an easy thing in those days.)

3) New tip I just learned - in iTunes 11, you can easily download all of the old music you’ve bought through the years in ITMS. The other day I downloaded it all onto my MacBook, then made a playlist of hits. So many great old $0.99 purchases of one-it wonders I had completely forgotten about. Been listening to the playlist for days and it is still awesome. 

nerdology
nerdology:

Found in my parents basement: a RAZR v3i with the box! So thin!!
That iTunes + Cingular box is really funny.

The last non-iPhone I had. I remember being so excited to get this just so I could take pictures. 0.3 megapixel pictures or something like that, mind you.

My version did not have iTunes integration. I had a wait a year or so for Verizon to test and approve it for use on the network. Do not miss those days. But wow, how Motorola has fallen.

nerdology:

Found in my parents basement: a RAZR v3i with the box! So thin!!

That iTunes + Cingular box is really funny.

The last non-iPhone I had. I remember being so excited to get this just so I could take pictures. 0.3 megapixel pictures or something like that, mind you.

My version did not have iTunes integration. I had a wait a year or so for Verizon to test and approve it for use on the network. Do not miss those days. But wow, how Motorola has fallen.