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Another step toward iPod gold…

By Brian | July 21, 2008 | Share on Facebook

I’ve been saying for many years now that the killer app on the iPod has not yet been written.  However, with the release of iPhone 3G (and, more specifically, the App Store), Apple has moved one step closer to that holy grail.  But not quite all the way.

Allow me to explain myself.  The killer app for the iPod, I believe, is one that will allow me to listen to Internet radio (or even broadcast radio) on my iPod, hear a song I like, and push a button to purchase that song for $0.99 and download it to my iTunes music library.  I call this the killer app, because it opens up something that ITMS doesn’t really provide today – the awesome power of the impulse buy.  When you have a product that sells for $0.99, you want, nay, you NEED your customers to be able to go from “want” to “have” in less than a second.  Make them think about for any longer than that, and most of them will move on to something else, never to return to that fertile moment.

Just as an example, imagine a school bus full of teenagers, all with iPods (attached to their parents’ credit cards), and all dishing to each other about the awesome new song that Bon Jovi (or whoever) just put out.  Now, imagine that song comes on the radio, and one kid says, “Ooh…I’m buying it right now!”  <Click>.  What happens next?  That’s right:  <Click>, <Click>, <Clickety-click-click-click-click>.  Ca-Ching!

Obviously, there are (or were?) several technical issues standing in the way of my killer app scenario.  But, reports are out today that Apple’s new App Store is rife with several music-related applications(costing between $0.00 and $9.99) that bring iPod functionality into that wonderful, WiFi-enabled, 3G world of theirs.

First, there’s Last.FM, which isn’t really radio, but still lets you listen to large quantities of streaming music for free (just like radio).  The iPhone app gives you a link that will let you purchase the song you’re listening to via ITMS on a WiFi connection.  It’s close, but it’s only relegated to the Last.FM userbase, so the social network atmosphere I describe above doesn’t really get to fully spread its wings.

Then there are Shazam and Midomi Mobile.  Shazam allows you to hold your iPhone’s microphone up to a music source (e.g., a radio), at which point it will pattern-match to figure out the song it’s hearing, and then provide you a link to purchase the song via ITMS.  Midomi Mobile is even cooler, in that it let’s you sing/hum a few bars of a song, and then plays a hi-tech version of “Name That Tune.”  If it’s right (and, I suppose, even if it’s wrong), you can buy the song you just hummed with a single click.  Once again, very close, but you still need someone else’s radio (or a good singing voice) to make it work.

That said, if they can do that, then they can do this.  I think it’s only a matter of time now…


Topics: Tech Talk, Words about Music | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Another step toward iPod gold…”

  1. FamilyGreenberg.Com - Yet another step toward iPod gold… says at January 15th, 2009 at 8:11 pm :
    [...] in July, I blogged about the Last.FM AppStore app for the iPhone, and how it moved digital music toward it’s holy grail – the impulse buy of a song when one [...]


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