I’m pretty much disgusted by iTunes today

Sections: Features, iTunes, iTunes Music, Opinions and Editorials

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First of all, I’m not the kind of guy who hates things just because they’re popular. I’m not a hipster. I like Dog Party, Molice and Night Ranger not to be ironic, but because I dig their songs. No apologies. My favorite band is Queen, and closely following them is (are?) They Might Be Giants. It’s not like you’ve never heard of these groups.

I am, however, the kind of guy who hates the marketing machine. For example, when OK Go was a band, I thought they were pretty good. When they became an ad agency, I lost all interest (it didn’t help that their third album was pretty much unlistenable…by design!). And because I hate the marketing machine, I hate this:

iTunes Sells Out

What the hell, Apple? I know Beyonce’s album is only available on iTunes right now, and that’s kind of a big deal, but my God…does she need the top three sliders? There’s really nothing else you want to move right now, or that deserves to be moved right now? Is Beyonce’s album not selling? I can’t imagine that’s the case, and I can’t imagine anyone going to iTunes will see that and think, “Oh, hey, I didn’t know Beyonce was still around! I shall buy this right now!”

But what’s worse is all this crap for The Voice. You’ve got eight carefully placed ads for what is, essentially, anti-music. Yes, I know it’s popular, but so is Coors Lite, and there’s not a single self-respecting beer drinker out there who will tell you it’s a quality brew.

I understand how the music industry works, and I know a lot of powerful people have paid for this sort of placement, but sweet Jesus, this is just horrible. You’ve sold your soul. There’s nothing about this page that says you’re serious about music anymore, it says your serious about getting complementary Super Bowl tickets from the only people in the world rich enough to buy Super Bowl tickets.

As if you can’t already afford them yourself.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I want the iTunes Music Store to be something it’s not; a haven of old vinyl LPs for a quarter and new vinyl LPs of bands I’ve never heard of instead of row after row of the same vomit regurgitated by everyone who drank too much The Voice Lite last night. That’s not to say Beyonce is vomit. She’s fine. Not my thing (I’m more of a Janelle Monáe kind of guy), but I get why people like her, and her popularity is justified.

I am, however, saying that The Voice is vomit. I just wish I could flush it away and be done with it. I don’t want to step in it every time I log into iTunes. So, I guess my point is that if you could hire a janitor for your store, that’d be great. Meanwhile, I’m going across the street to do my music shopping at BandCamp. It’s a little less convenient, but at least my soul will remain firmly intact, and I won’t have to clean my shoes when I leave the store.

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  • doug


    So a big name singer wants to push out a surprise album exclusively on iTunes and Apple accommodates this by making it obvious that something new is out. Both people make a bunch of money….where’s the problem?

    Oh ya! “the voice”

    So I don’t follow this but I’m guessing we are nearing something important in the series? It is a new season or it is near the end of the season? and Apple is making it easy for fan’s to get access to the music.

    I’m sure iTunes will go back to promoting other random items next week.

    • Kirk Hiner

      It’s not the promotion, it’s the size of the promotion. Does Beyonce need that much ad space? No. Her sneak release was all over the entertainment news. Does The Voice need so many slots for their crappy singles? No. Their audience is well aware that every song sung on that show is a calculated decision to move as many downloads as possible before the singers can be tossed to the curb, and they know they can find them at iTunes.

      The point is that if Apple had a soul, they would use this space to promote material that iTunes users wouldn’t otherwise find or know about, as they have in the past, especially with their wonderful iPod commercials. Keep Beyonce up. Keep the Voice up. But they don’t need to let the big money prevent them from saving a few slots for other artists that Apple used to be good at recommending.

  • Goober

    And here the Goob thought you were going to have a cognizant rant about the steep decline in iTunes UI that has occurred since the last major release.

    iTunes seems to be leading the charge, in dismantling – for no functional reason at all – all of the sacred UI laws of design from the Classic Mac OS that set it so far ahead of windows in usability. The design and functionality is borderline horrible now.

    But instead, you’re mad about having to see three Beyonce panels.

    The Goob thusly suspects that you’re too young to know what you’ve lost in Apple.

    • Kirk Hiner

      The UI issues are an issue every day, not just today. What I’ve lost in Apple in this case is the spirit of rock and roll. The acknowledgement of the little guy. The love for the band fresh out of the garage. The company willing to stick it to the man, not accept his payola.

      And although I thank the Goob for recognizing my youthful spirit, I’m old enough to have been using Apple products for cash and profit when Beyonce was singing for her fellow daycare classmates.