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Old May-20-2005, 10:39 PM
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Arrow Apple aims for music videos

Interesting article......could be good for our genre of music, what with the current state of the business!

ANALYSIS: Since last week, you can buy music videos as well as music on Apple's iTunes Music Store. Yet the company hasn't announced it. Why not? And what's the plan behind it?


In case you didn't notice - and I think a lot of people haven't, actually - Apple has launched a store where you can buy and download music videos. And I think it's just the start of something that will make the iTunes Music Store look like a trivial first step.

It's been easy to overlook. An update to the iTunes program a week or so ago, which the company itself didn't even press release, now means that it can play Quicktime videos.

And simultaneously, the iTunes Music Store - in all the dozen or so countries in which it operates - sprouted "video singles", which include a 30MB movie file with no protection. (It already offers nearly 100 streaming videos.)

Apple, which already dominates the legal music download market, has suddenly changed the rules.

While Yahoo cuts Napster's throat (in the US) with a cheaper version of its music subscription service, I believe Apple is lining up something dramatic: an online music video store where you'll be able to buy any of the music videos you've watched on MTV since its inception.

Think about it.

For those looking to sell video, music videos are the easy way to go. They're self-contained, tell a story, appeal to a young audience which will remain faithful, they're memorable, you can return to them repeatedly and enjoy them, they're short (and so easily transported) and they offer fantastic branding for an artist.

Little wonder that record labels spend so much on music videos. Splash out a million dollars and you still won't even into the top ten most expensive videos list.

Now, the videos that you get for your 99 pence extra at the iTMS aren't exactly going to put the record labels' other video income, from artist DVDs, out of business. They're small (up to 480x272 pixels) and the quality is only so-so.

But it suffices for watching on a computer screen, and it's not a huge burden to download, and if you get enough of them, you could create your own video jukebox. It would be like MTV without the adverts.

And we already know that people like listening to the content they've chosen. That's how those millions of MP3 players have sold. And we know that people like watching music videos. Ask MTV.

In fact this is a win-win for absolutely everyone, except possibly MTV.

First, for the musicians, it's another way to strengthen their branding.

"Apple is lining up something dramatic: an online music video store"Second, for the record companies, it means a way to make music videos start to pay for themselves, just a little bit. Clawing back a million dollars 99 pence at a time might seem like a Herculean task, but the longest journey starts with the first step.

With that huge back catalogue of music videos out there, which otherwise just get aired by MTV or VH1 but don't generate much money, there's a strong incentive for the record companies to dust off the videos and deliver them to Apple.

Then for Apple, it offers a further reason for people to use its store rather than rivals'. And it's a great way to get into the video sales business.

Plus compared to movies, rights for music videos are a doddle. There's no repeat payments to the actors. It's all sorted. Unlike films, where Sir Alec Guinness's estate continues to pull in a bit of money every time Star Wars I (or should it be IV?) is shown.

Since most buyers are men in their 30s or above, they'll have plenty of music videos that they'd like to watch again, and again, to recapture their youth. Even Status Quo might get a look in.

Even mobile phone companies can benefit.

I can get the downloaded video to play on my phone (a small one-off payment for Quicktime Pro). That seems like a smart place to watch video, and we know that people do - I wrote in February about 3's excursion into this territory. Future versions of iTunes will probably offer the ability to do that conversion for free.

Of course, much of that is connecting the dots, and there remains the question of why Apple hasn't made more of this; and why it did it now.

The answer to that, I think, is twofold.

First, Apple has been making huge noises elsewhere about the latest update to its OSX operating system. As a company, it never dilutes its marketing message, and talking about video on iTunes would distract from the story it wants to tell about OSX.

Second, I think it wants to have plenty of content before it really makes a noise about this. Steve Jobs likes his messages to make a big splash.

Perhaps the fabled video iPod is in the works. (Though I think that's less likely than cooperation with Sony so that the PSP can load iTunes videos.)

More likely, he's simply readying an announcement in the next month or so of a huge back catalogue.

And perhaps, even, music subscriptions over iTunes.

Now that really would shoot Napster's - and Yahoo's - fox.

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Old May-21-2005, 3:10 AM
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James Gaden James Gaden is offline

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Mac's rock - I've sworn by them for years and I'm delighted to see them appearing all over every industry. They are rock solid, beautiful machines, easy to maintain, and Apple develop some of the most influential bug free software available. The people who gave us the iPod can't be wrong. Come on people, join the Great One in my Mac crusade!


James Gaden's Sig:"How can you lose, when you're destined to be a winner?"

www.solitaryvision.co.uk www.jamesgaden.co.uk www.myspace.com/jamesgaden
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Old May-21-2005, 6:52 AM
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tony g tony g is offline

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your right david i think it could open up a lot of old music out there
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