_iPods have become extremely popular, and according to Apple's press conference earlier today, they are absolutely dominating the mobile music market, which most of us already knew. iTunes is still the industry leader in digital music. The cloud is becoming more and more important in computing and music. Apple knows this, and is trying to take advantage, but there is still more they can do to truly crush the opposition.
There are other digital music services providing features that are far better than offerings from Apple. Grooveshark for example, is almost the perfect streaming circus. The major problem, I'm pretty sure they are still in legal trouble. The second largest issue is that because of their legal problems they lack a legitimate iOS app. Their availabile for jailbroken iOS devices is pretty good, but again, only a small percentage of all iOS devices are jailbroken. On top of needing to be jailbroken, a monthly fee is also required to access Grooveshark from the mobile app, which is generally a free service. Pandora is another music streaming service that is quite amazing, although without subscription the user is bombarded with annoying ads. The advantage to Pandora is the introduction to new music users experience through the unique Music Genome Project and the music stations it provides. Thanks to the Music Genome Project, Pandora's radio stations are probably the best available. Grooveshark, and many others, have their own version of these user created stations, but what Grooveshark has that Pandora does not is the "Recommended Music" station, which seems to be music that the Grooveshark algorithms recommend based on the music you like, listen to, and have in your library and playlists.

Apple's answer to these stations seems to be Genius playlists and recommendations in the iTunes music store. Honestly, Apple to make this so much better. What Apple needs is the music streaming and essentially sampling stations like Pandora, but via Genius, that will allow users to hear new music without having to search for it in the iTunes store. Instead, the user should be able to select a song and either have the option in Genius or Preferences to decide whether Genius will provide its playlists from just the user's music library, recommended unheard/unowned music, or a combination of both. The user, upon hearing a new song they enjoy, should be able to purchase any song being played through Genius via iTunes, and a tagging/bookmarking feature, such as that in Pandora which allows users to go back and make the purchase later on, would be nice as well. And yes, Pandora does already allow users to purchase their bookmarked songs through iTunes, but come on Apple, why let someone else do something you could do yourself and close your loop even more?

Along with making a service like this available Apple could also add in the option for location based music recommendations. Some people tend to listen to certain music when in certain places. At the local party spot, maybe you listen to more hip-hop, or maybe at your childhood buddy's house you listen to some old school rock, Apple collects enough location data to know this information, and if "they don't" then with your permission and a new iTunes end user license agreement I'm sure they could. Again this could be an option the user could turn on or off at will. So, once you arrived at your local party spot, you could plug your iPod/iPhone into the speaker system, kick start Genius, and out come the best new hip-hop tracks from your library and music you have yet to purchase from iTunes. After a couple brewski's head back to Joe Schmoe's house with the same Genius stream going, but now, because you are at your buddies house, your iDevice starts pumping out some more relaxed tracks as the night winds down. All without you having to tell your device to do so.

I think this would be an amazing system for Apple to implement. Of course they would a lot more licensing BS to workout with the music mogols, but after all that's what all those fancy lawyers are for. Right Apple?

Written by: Andy G.

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