iTunes and Content Production

iTunes has always been about the music. Well, it was until the podcasts, and then the TV shows, and then the movies. Ohh, and the audiobooks have been there too, and you can get digital booklets with albums....iTunes has always been about the content. We've got that established, but iTunes has mostly been about selling other peoples content.

Plenty of folks are calling for iTunes to be the savior of independent content everywhere. Skip the label and publish directly on iTunes. We've seen a little of that with services like CD Baby and we're starting to see things happen with video too. These things are great, and I hope they continue, but I want to connect the dots a little differently. It almost seems like things are shaping up for Apple themselves to be the content producers.

I pull together 3 nuggets of info to suggest that Apple might want to dive deeper into the content production business.

For starters, they've settled with Apple Records and can now produce music if they really wanted to.

Second, Apple appears to be having some success in their partnership with Nike selling exercise influenced mixes. I own two of them (Crystal Method The Crystal Method - Drive: Nike+ Original Run - Drive: Nike+ Original Run and Aesop Rock Aesop Rock - All Day: Nike+ Original Run - All Day: Nike+ Original Run (Continuous Mix)) and I love them. As of this writing, there are 15 such mixes available for purchase. I don't know who is actually financing these productions, but Apple is pushing them and they are iTunes exclusive.

Finally, we have the impending release of the Apple TV. Mine is on order and I expect to spend about $60 on content as soon as it arrives. I'll be more than happy to spend the money as I've cancelled my cable and I'm saving $60 a month already. Apple will want more reasons for people to buy Apple TVs. One of those reasons could be exclusive content. Just like HBO got a nice boost from The Sopranos and how Howard Stern sold buckets of Sirus subscriptions, Apple could snag customers with some exclusive content of their own and they could pay the production costs to make that happen.

Apple has historically had a creative base. How cool would it be for them to start employing some of their users to create content for them? Think about what would happen if the next Lost were an iTunes exclusive. That would seriously shake up the TV world, but it would also piss off the networks they've already signed deals with. Maybe the networks had wording in their contracts that said Apple couldn't produce television shows :)

1 comment:

Jason said...

At least ABC can't say a heck of a lot to Apple, as a certain Mr. Jobs is now on the board of Disney, who owns ABC ;-)

Now, here's a slight curveball to your whole idea. I believe that delving in both content and devices is what has slowly killed Sony. You end up with conflicting objectives, one side wants to innovate on hardware, and the other wants to kill it to protect their investment.

It also lends itself to spreading too thin. I would hate to see Apple make that mistake.