The Change of the Music Marketplace Experience

As a continuation to my last blog post, going in depth with iTunes, I would like to now explore how the medium of iTunes created its own virtual environment to distribute music and affect our experience and buying music.  iTunes is unique in that it’s the only digital media marketplace that requires you to download software to your device or comes pre-installed on all Apple products.  With other digital media stores such as amazon the user can simply access their digital media store and purchases by visiting their website, amazon.com.  What Apple offers with iTunes is convenience and syncing across Apple products for the user and it pioneered this craft because it was the first digital media marketplace of its kind and time.

Apple changed everything about the process of buying a record and experiencing the physical copy of a record.  The clash of new and old was inevitable by the way iTunes flipped the buying experience for consumers from personal to digital.  Up until the 2000’s, connoisseurs of music were accustomed to going to record stores and buying physical copies of music in CD’s or vinyl.  iTunes cut out the inconvenience and hassle of having to go to the record store and allow those who download their software the option to buy music right from their computer and have it playing in seconds.  Through iTunes, Apple changed the whole experience of going out and buying music as well, no more was there a collection of people outside of a Tower Record store for a midnight release party of their favorite bands new album.  Apple changed the whole experience of the physical record, from  opening a CD case, looking at the included artwork and sometimes included extras that would come with records to going to your computer clicking buy and listening to your music through your computer or with the iPod.

I would argue that iTunes destroyed a lot of social interaction between music lovers through the atmosphere that is lost from going to record stores.  It used to be that you could go in to a record store and explore all the different music that was there, interact with other perusers and get suggestions from the employees or people there based on selections you liked.  With iTunes you have the new releases at the top of the page and the top singles and albums taking up the home screen.  Although apple has the “Genius” which uses an algorithm to determine songs you may like based on purchases you’ve made with them, it’s not the same.  It loses the personal connection and replaces that with some machine and code saying if you like this then what about this.  I’ve never found this very helpful at least.

Apple has changed the environment in buying music from record stores, being around other music lovers and fans and the experience of having the physical copy of a record.  Apple completely destroyed these practices for convenience and the ability for iTunes users to download albums from their collection instead.  In addition to that they have changed the whole way we view music from a once physical form to now something we can’t see or feel, it’s now an immaterial form which gives off a different experience.


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9 thoughts on “The Change of the Music Marketplace Experience”

  1. I agree that this was the case, but these days most people are using Spotify. While Spotify is still digital, it allows you to see what your friends are listening to, which brings the community aspect back. I don’t think I know anyone who actually purchases music on iTunes anymore. Personally, I still have a CD collection and I don’t think I could ever sell my CDs.

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  2. I personally use Spotify, but I disable the sharing aspect. I don’t like the whole community part of music – it’s so personal and half the time I don’t want people to know how many times I’ve listen to “Fancy” on repeat. For me, digital music has taken music and made it better – I’m no longer limited to what I can buy at the store, and I can find artists and genres that would otherwise be off limits. Plus, once again, I don’t have to have people know that I actually really want to listen to Taylor Swift.

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  3. I agree that the use of mp3 files and music takes away a lot of interaction and the physical aspect of music where we can place a certain meaning in a passed down vinyl or old cds. Though, I do use spotify and i do pay for premium, I do appreciate the ability to have my music in a library instead of having to manually change disks or set up a record player. I also am not too much of a fan of the sharing playlists but having a mass music library makes it easier to look up songs and has really widened my range of music tastes.

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  4. I agree with many of the points you made. However, I personally have really enjoy the new advances in music. Music has become much more accessible with so many more options to enjoy it. Spotify and Pandora are two of my favorites.

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  5. I partly agree with your argument. The connection in the record store is indeed destroyed by iTunes just as what you said, but I noticed that new connections through the websites comes into being. ITunes offers digital music, and at the same times people who have the similar hobby can easily get together on websites and that’s easier for them to communicate comparing with talking in a record store. The way of communication also becomes digital. Music lovers don’t lose all of their connections–although they actually lose some of them as we are seeing the decline of the record stores.

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    1. Having grown up in the “Record” age, I was impressed to read that you brought up the “going to the record store” experience as a pitfall of buying through the digital stores. I don’t buy music through iTunes just because of this pitfall. Going to the record store was a big part of the music experience for me. I enjoyed thumbing through record albums and often the artistic album covers led to a closer look at the music in the album.

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  6. I would agree with you that iTunes has really destroyed the socio-physical aspect of music. Nowadays, people cannot bond over music quite like they used to. iTunes has really almost made the album obsolete as people can just buy their favorite song off of an album. Artists take time to arrange the tracks off an album in a way that adds to the overall experience, and listening to them out of order takes away from the experience.

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  7. Although I agree with you about the changes iTunes cost us and our social interaction, a good thing came out of it for musicians. Now it is easier for a musician to get his or her music out there in the iTunes store, any small band without a label contract can offer his music to the whole world! Today it would probably be impossible to think of any physical store that could holds that many records.

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  8. Very insightful post on iTunes and the Apple store. I agree it does take out the notion of interacting with music lovers at a local store, however some still like the convenience of the online store and might be less intrested with a social interaction. However this can also lead to the case which goes back to your point of maybe they are less likely of going to a local store due to anxiety built up through interacting less with fellow people .

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