The Case for an Apple iNetwork: Welcome to the Social - ReadWriteWeb: "While most of that is common knowledge, what most people overlook is the glaring lack of any community aspect to iTunes. There are millions of people, many of them with similar tastes, flocking to the same destination every day, yet they never interact with each other... because they can't. If Kevin Rose is to be believed, however, (as discussed on TWiT 157) that all is about to change with iTunes 8.0.
He says, '... the one thing I hear about iTunes 8.0 is that it's gonna do something along the lines of, um, looking at your music, and, uh, kind of recommendations based on certain things.' In other words, the next version of iTunes will monitor your media purchasing and consuming habits and correlate them with everyone else using the system to figure out which songs you will probably like but haven't bought/listened to. If you're a fan of collaborative filtering systems or internet radio (Pandora, Last.fm, etc), you're probably familiar with the idea already and that iTunes may be considering implementing this doesn't come as a surprise (I found myself wondering why this wasn't introduced 2-3 years ago)."
To make a real play at being a music network I think Apple needs to give iTunes a web presence (outside of the client application), but nonetheless the potential notion of Subscription + Cloud + iPhone + Taste Networking = pretty compelling proposition. Last.fm, iLike and iMeem have established the market for such experiences now. This is about the time when Jobs likes to walk in with an offering (while claiming they *invented* it).
I still think that they will come in with subscription at some point (if not now), but I'd put pretty good money that September announcements include MobileMe + enhanced taste networking/discovery features (with still an outside shot of full-blown subscription being announced too). Apple wouldn't be going through the headaches with MobileMe transition (aka "upgrade") if it wasn't key to their strategy moving forward - the next logical step for it is cloud storage (and playback) of your iTunes library with the additional kick of wireless (push) sync management of that media down to your iPhone/WiFiPod. Once your content is in the cloud and universally accessible, then limited sharing (streaming) to a small social network of your friends enhances discovery of new content, with easy "buy" links back to iTunes which can then push the newly purchased content to your device, computer and cloud all simultaneously.
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