iTunes Social Edition

I’ve become a huge fan of iTunes. I’m pretty sure this is the biggest about face that I’ve ever done on a piece of software. For years I eschewed iTunes. I even insisted on using 3rd party applications to load music on my iPod. I resisted because I didn’t like the idea of being locked in with a lot of metadata with one application. For years I insisted on manual management of ID3 tags and stuck to a simple file system based model. This gave me ultimate flexibility, but also minimal capability. I’ve been really amazed with how powerful iTunes really is. It’s the rare type of application that seems really simple, yet as I want to push it there is almost always a way to do what I want to do. Except when it comes to sharing my music with my wife. We need an iTunes Social Edition.

iTunes is great for me, but there is a gaping hole in the application when it comes to sharing with friends. Some of this has been actively discouraged due to sharing of copyrighted music, but that the legitimate use cases need to be handled better. Let’s look at some examples.

Even on a single computer, there is no easy way to share one iTunes library between different accounts. Of course we all have different accounts in our house, and iTunes really only works with one of them. iTunes needs to understand that some metadata has multiple users (song ratings, play statistics) and other metadata is universal (genre, album art). I should then be able to easily share this library across multiple users and still have the capability for different views.

Of course this needs to extend to other computers. It’s totally lame that iTunes can “authorize” up to 5 computers but does absolutely nothing, zilch, to help me put that music on those 5 computers. Ugh!

And then what about my friends? I “publish” my home movies out of iMovie into iTunes and I’d like to share those movies with friends and family. iTunes should allow me to do this as well.

There have been rumblings about a P2P-enabled iTunes (BitTorrent DNA anyone?) that would be used to facilitate HD content. I dream of a day that the same functionality is used to keep libraries in sync and share non-copyrighted materials with friends.

Jamie Thingelstad @jthingelstad

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