Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New iTunes

I was probably the first guy back in highschool that had a walkman. I was a musician back then, having my own rock band, and music was what was surrounding me day and night, so to be able to listen to music on the go was revolutionary and elevating.

Being interested in music, I loved a web site that was publishing all song lyrics ( a community effort). What a great resource for quotes. Needless to say, it was shutdown soon enough by the music industry because of "copyright issues". I mean, come on "Love love me do, you know I love you" - I am not allowed to post this to a website?

Later, my company bought every employee a first generation iPod right when they were announced, back at the time that was a 11k CHF investment for us. I still got mine, by the way, but added Shuffle, a Nano and a Mini along the way. Needless to say, I have used iTunes since its very first day, and love it.

Now its already release 7 for iTunes. Congratulations. One of the great things is a new feature that lets you flip through your collection. You need the album artwork for that, and the first thing I did was to click the "fetch artwork" menu item. It works quite well, but I was wondering how they managed to convince the record industry to make them available.

Turns out they did not, or at least not in all cases. Several albums that are available in the store did not return their artwork. When you search for the album in the store, the artwork shows up, but in the iTunes cover area (lower left corner) it says "artwork available when purchased". Try it with "intensive care" by Robby Williams as a certainly popular example.

Steve (Jobs) does a fantastic job of bridging the gap between consumer's reality and that of the recording industry. But some things never change, right? I guess I have to use the old-fashioned approach and manually copy the album artwork for Robby Williams from some website like Amazon. Until then, the likelihood that I will listen to Robby is diminished due to the fact that his cover is empty when I flip through the 2652 songs I currently have on my laptop.

Who exactly has gained what by not releasing the album artwork?

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