I believe we’re increasingly heading to an era where filtering of the unlimited sources of stuff that is thrown at us is the holy grail in terms of apps, etc.
For music, iTunes is a perfectly fine player so long as you’re playing music found on your hard drive. Certainly, it appears that Apple will move to a streaming service at some point. However, as much as I love Apple, I doubt seriously that it’ll be a solution for anything beyond the streaming of songs purchased from the iTunes store (and, candidly, why should it be?).
However, most of us now get our music from a variety of sources. As above, we play what’s on our hard drives via iTunes, and many of us also stream from some service (rdio, spotify, emusic, pandora… whatever)
Some of the above are sort of applauded for their “iTunes-like interface.” The problem is that even if these interfaces are exactly like iTunes, we’re still dealing with interfaces, plural.
We need an interface, singular.
None of these interfaces/clients really give a user what she should have: an interface that pulls in your streams/queues/songs-added-to-collections and songs on your hard drive all in one place.
I should, for instance, be able to play a song I have on my hard drive from the same interface I stream a song I’ve added to my rdio collection.
This isn’t a rights issue, by the way. I pay the $10 a month to stream whatever I want from rdio; I’d be happy if I could stream Pandora from this interface even if it meant having to see ads/hit a paywall if I go over the limit. However, when I do this now, not only do I have to switch interfaces, but I also have to quit iTunes (to make sure I’m not connected to an Airport Express speaker – soon to be AirPlay), then connect Airfoil to the new interface, and re-connect to the remote speaker. Drag.
I believe the net result of this would be far more music consumed, and, thus, far more revenue generated for rights holders, services, etc.
This is at the essence of VRM: Customers must be able to manage relationships with their vendors/suppliers on their terms.
Anything short of this leads frictions that are not beneficial to anyone.
So…someone hack one of these things together for me, please.