The iTunes Music Store Is Outdated

by James R. Stoup Feb 28, 2006

Apple’s iTunes Music Store recently passed the 1 billionth download mark. It was a fairly grand occasion as Apple got to add another impressive benchmark to its lists of acomplishments. However, this milestone highlights the one, big glaring problem with the iTunes’ service, and that is its name is wrong. The iTMS no longer only sells music. Ok, so the name is a bit misleading, big deal right? What is the problem? So what if the name isn’t completely accurate, who cares?

I care, a lot. And for two very good reasons. The first is that I find it slightly annoying to buy TV shows from a music store. But the second, and most important reason, is that iTunes is becoming too cluttered. Currently you can download the following from the iTunes Music Store:

  1. songs
  2. music videos
  3. TV shows
  4. podcasts
  5. video podcasts
  6. short animated films
  7. movie Trailers
  8. audio books

And in the future, with the next most likely candidate for online distribution being movies, it is a safe bet that much more digital content will be available.  However, I see no reason for things to stop with that. I expect all sorts of things to be sold via Apple’s store in the future. Digital pictures, software and books just to name a few.

Here is the problem though, currently all of those items would be accessed via iTunes. And that is the part that makes no sense. I don’t want to have to scan through my collection of Billy Joel songs to find an episode of Battlestar Galactica. I don’t want to have to clutter my music library with feature length films. And I really don’t want iTunes to become this gaint-mega-super-database-of-digital-media-player-organizer thing. I love iTunes, it is the best music player and podcast organizer I have ever used. It has a clean interface, lots of features and is very intuitive. But there are some things it doesn’t do too well, playing movies is one of them!

So, now that we know the problem, here is my solution. First, rebrand the iTunes Music Store into the iMedia Store. Second, create another application whose sole purpose is to rate, organize and play video content. Call it iVideo if you must. Either way seperate out the video functionality of iTunes (return it to its true function) and let iVideo handle TV shows, video podcast, trailers and movies. This will shrink the size of my iTunes library back down to something managable and allow me to enjoy my video content in a much greater way.

If Apple doesn’t do something to iTunes soon, then the application will quickly develop into a twisted version of Windows Media Player. Giving the user the feeling that its true purpose is buried beneath layers of tack-on features and useless crap as it tries to be everything to everyone.


  • Couldn’t agree with you more. I’m starting to get frustrated about having all this “content” in iTunes. When I fire up iTunes - 9/10 it’s to listen to music… not watch a video. Watching a video is a different user experience to listening to music.

    Yes, I *might* dance to/sing-along with the music but, more often than not, it is accompanying another activity (usually working or surfing). With video, it’s more passive - I am concentrating on the video.

    So splitting the content between two apps isn’t a problem in my mind, I’ll fire up the app that provides what I currently want.

    hitchhiker had this to say on Feb 28, 2006 Posts: 48
  • James ?
      Do you complain when walking in the FYE, SamGoodie, or any of the other stores located at malls and/or shopping centers that have music, DVDs, video game content ect. Just about anywhere you go anymore stores are becoming more and more pro on capturing anything and everything to do in the home entertainment realm, as Apple has set thier goal in doing with thier business.
      I do agree to some extent with it all being through one program, but not seperate stores. Convienience is what the average american is looking for. One time check out. Mainly to do with society being lazy. I know I am. Just the fact of re-entering the same info over and over at multiple websites is a pain.
      As to leafing through your selection of music and seeing a video pop up ? Try the search engine, searching by artist. Always works for me, as well as folder or playlist, I think video is stored seperately in a playlist that is set up by default.
      And anything Apple doing related to Windows is absurd. How can you even compare the two when it comes to software.

    Macster2 had this to say on Feb 28, 2006 Posts: 40
  • Woah Macster2: “And anything Apple doing related to Windows is absurd. How can you even compare the two when it comes to software.”

    He just did. And the comparison is accurate.

    As James says: “...quickly develop into a twisted version of Windows Media Player.”

    Completely accurate; WMP tries to do everything in one “slick” interface and ends up doing it all badly. James’ point is that iTunes will go the same way unless the video elements are split off. And, in my opinion, he’s right.

    That said, I’m with you on the store idea - one store to rule them all and all that. Just different apps to view/listen/store the content!

    hitchhiker had this to say on Feb 28, 2006 Posts: 48
  • I think
    1. It makes no sense to go back on such a successful brand as iTunes.
    2. It would be inconvenient to have to use more than 1 program to put stuff on your ipod
    3. I agree that the itunes music store is in danger of getting cluttered, but I think this can be better managed with good design than by resorting to using different programs

    Benji had this to say on Feb 28, 2006 Posts: 927
  • hitchhiker, how can you compare windows media player to the iLife suite. If my memory is correct…...iTunes, iMovie, iWeb, iDVD, Garageband and iPhoto, makes (6) programs not one. iTunes is selected to be the one to port all legal/bought downloads. Yes you can watch video in iTunes, but why would you with the other available progs. One program to sync, not multiple. one. its easy, no jumping around, just one. And back to comparing iLife with windows media, cmon now. There is no comparison. Media player will have to develope alot to even touch the beneficial things that can be performed within the suite that is fully integrated.
      Please don’t get me wrong, I am in no way shape or form bashing anyone, but maybe MS. Did you know that most MS games that are available(strickly on the Windows platform) are designed on Apple computers. Yet when do you see them available to the Mac community. Oh wait, I’m not going in this direction. Sorry to mention that as much as I hate gaming oncomputers.
      Anyways my point….....Apples design in software far exceeds MS, lets not even compare. Did you see Bill Gates’s keynote with Mr. O’Brein, they were going over there media presentation and it didn’t work. How many times does it make it that Brother Bill has been snuffed onstage with his apps not working, I can’t even begin to count. Its either a poorly written app or the actuater and my money is on the app.

    Macster2 had this to say on Feb 28, 2006 Posts: 40
  • Okay, macster’s inane and disjointed ranting aside, I will go out on a limb to disagree with James by DEFENDING iTunes on this one (now there’s a switch).

    I like the integration of the store with iTunes (misnamed though it is).  While it is true that the Library itself contains every bit of media regardless of classification, I rarely if ever actually use my Library.  Instead, when I want to watch videos, I click on the video tab.  When I want to listen to or watch my podcasts (which is what I do most of the time), I click on the podcast tab.  And when I want to listen to music, I’ll select one of my many playlists.

    I certainly have my complaints about iTunes, but organization is actually one its strong-suits.  And mismatching the media isn’t a big deal, although I do agree that watching videos is less than ideal.  But instead of seperate apps, I think a better solution is better integration with Quicktime.  As it is now, none of the QT shortcuts like zoom and full screen work in iTunes.  This is an unfortunate oversight on Apple’s part.

    As for the store, again I have my complaints but in terms of organization, I think it does a decent job.  It could certainly be a little more cohesive and a LOT faster, but I’d rather have it all in one app than seperated.

    And the WMP comparison is irrelevant.  WMP and iTunes do completely different things with a couple of overlaps.  Besides, MS is ending WMP development on the Mac and has released for free that plug-in that integrates WM files into Quicktime.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Feb 28, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • My first thought, on reading your article, was made by Macster2. Don’t you have any stores where you live that have changed their originally named purpose? I see plenty. But also, I think it’s kinda cool sometimes. And the name iMedia -c’mon man! That’s terrible raspberry What about iStore ? Makes sense to me.

    But I do think the organization definitely is due for a make-over. I think simply it should be kept in iTunes, but the library menu should be split into two parts: Music Library + Video Library (Because I do actually use the library in iTunes for most my music listening. And when I have it set to random, and then I begin to hear the audio from a video, instead of a song, it is very annoying.) When inside the Music library section, the controls will be simple iTunes controls with no video controls, then when you select the Video Library, the interface changes slightly to make it more friendly for watching videos. Then they could maybe even do away with Quicktime and integrate it completely into iTunes one day (I know, it sounds crazy!)

    This would still keep iTunes easy, and a single app for us all. But with extended functionality and organization for videos.

    Luke Mildenhall-Ward had this to say on Mar 01, 2006 Posts: 299
  • I think it’s better to leave it all in one app.  Makes it simpler for most consumers to buy media and keep it all organized (sucks about the name though - but keep it).  That being said, there are many improvements to be made as far as video, both in how it runs, controls, etc.  Give it some time guys, I’m sure they’re working out the kinks.  Compare the original itunes audio with all the features and improvements theyve added since then…and that was a simpler and smaller form of media than video.  They’ll also probably do some minor organizational improvements.  That one about seperate audio and video libraries is top on my list.

    alexpasch had this to say on Mar 02, 2006 Posts: 16
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