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The future of music - Metro US

The future of music

Now that Steve Jobs has shown us the iPad, let’s speculate on what it might mean for music.

The resurrection of album artwork: The awesome screen could not only bring back album artwork and liner note, but why not full-motion displays for each song? Interactive liner notes? Parallel song-by-song commentary by the artist or producer that runs through the album just like we have with DVDs?

Soundtracks to books: Book publishers should start hiring music supervisors to compile soundtracks for books they’ll soon sell in the iBook store. Can you imagine what a Nick Hornby book might sound like? Naturally, they should make it easy to buy these songs as you read.

More impulse purchases: Last year, I made 97 purchases through the iTunes store, mostly on whims. With an iPad, I can see myself buying even more as I read ibooks and watch downloaded TV shows. Want that mournful song playing under Meredith’s soliloquy in the last act of Grey’s Anatomy? Just tap to buy. Same with movie soundtracks. If I’m in the music licensing business either as a music supervisor or a publisher, all I see is dollar signs.

The end of traditional printed music magazines: Newspapers are already talking about making their content available on the iPad. So are magazine publishers. Why wait for that monthly issue of Rolling Stone — better yet, those British music mags that take months to make it to Chapters — when you can subscribe to each of them as a service? Constantly updating music magazines with video and interactive features? I’m in.

New Opportunities for traditional radio: Like most iPods (the most current Nano an exception), there’s no provision of any kind of old-school radio listening. It’s expected that if you want radio, you’ll listen to the online stream. There’s a huge opportunity for radio companies to adapt their broadcasting models to provide not only real-time streams of their programming but an untold number of services on demand.

With the iPod function, we’ll get whatever music we want whenever we want it wherever we are. What about all the other things radio stations offer? Weather? Traffic? Want to hear the morning show again? No problem.

Yes, the iPad has its doubters, but so did the iPod. And that turned out fine, didn’t it?

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