Is Apple losing touch with music fans?

Apple fails to excite British music industry pundits at its September iPod and iTunes press launch this year
Apple fails to excite British music industry pundits at its September iPod and iTunes press launch this year

One of the biggest disappointments of this week's Apple iPod and iTunes 'It's only rock and roll' event was the lack of game-changing music-related announcements.

British music industry analysts and digital music industry players are still unsure whether or not Jobs' iTunes 9 and iTunes LP announcements were tentative 'baby steps' pointing towards a potentially far more interesting strategy-shift, or were just too little. And too late.

Plus, for music fans, perhaps the fact that The Beatles are still not on iTunes (despite what Yoko Ono might or might not have said to a Sky News reporter earlier in the week) is the most obvious anti-climax following the event.

NME's Paul Stokes told TechRadar today he "didn't think anyone seriously expected the Beatles would be joining iTunes last night" adding, "with lots of remastered physical albums now in the shops it seemed highly unlikely the Fab Four would be wanting us stay at home. (Unless it's to play Rock Band!).

"I wouldn't be at all surprised if we have a similar fanfare to Beatles 999 day next year when the tracks do finally make it online," added the NME man.

Apple is unadventurous and unengaging

SoundCloud's Head of Business Development, Dave Haynes is of the opinion that: "Even someone as dominant as Apple can't ignore the massive changes in the way music is being consumed and distributed these days, from to SoundCloud to Twitter."

And while the SoundCloud man agrees that "it's great to see iTunes beginning to integrate with other social media" he thinks that "as a first step this is really quite tentative.

"It's been crucial for us at SoundCloud to openly embrace, from the start, third party platforms where music fans and music makers are already congregating. Let's hope the next step Apple takes is a bit more adventurous."

Albin Serviant, CEO of the competing MXP4 digital music format thinks that while Apple LP "is an interesting development, the concept cleaves to the idea of the album as an artifact that still has resonance today, when new technology like MXP4 - and even the iPhone - is completely shifting the idea of how a collection of music can be consumed.

"It's quite a passive experience - look at photos and videos, read lyrics - when a lot consumers are looking for much more engagement and interactivity."

Adam Hartley