I've heard a few similar ideas to this one, but Jimmy Guterman has made the perfect suggestion for what Apple should be doing with their iPod. Instead of just focusing on their iTunes product, why aren't they selling the real estate on the iPod? The idea would be to sell the iPod already full of tunes. You could sell "special edition iPods" for specific bands, that had mp3s of all their tracks, including a few rare or unreleased goodies. Or, you could sell the space to a label who could fill up all those unused gigabytes with samplers from a bunch of their artists. It makes some sense, but Apple says they have no plans to do such a thing. However, when Guterman called up people at various record labels, at least one sounded really interested in the idea. Of course, the main reason this is unlikely to work is that the music industry will want to charge exorbitant rates, driving the price of the already expensive iPod even higher - making it a less appealing buy. However, I wonder if a band couldn't do this themselves? Why not buy some iPods (or some competing mp3 player), dump all their own songs, a couple of live recordings and free extra goodies on the hard drive, and sell the complete collection (along with t-shirts or whatever other merchandise) at a reasonable price. I'm sure, if they could sell enough, the bands could get discounts from the mp3 player makers - such that they could sell the devices with all their tracks for only a modest markup, still make good money, and make their fans extra happy. Update: Found via a comment below this story (thanks!) is this other story of a DJ in Philadelphia who, instead of going in and DJing personally is selling a "subscription" service where he fills an iPod with the music for the restaurant or club. He first goes in, scouts it out, and then creates the playlist, and charges a monthly fee to adjust the playlists. The restaurants already pay ASCAP and BMI fees to play music, suggesting this is probably legal. Update 2: Then again, others are saying this isn't legal.
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