iTunes

Predominant.ly Searching for Music.

I used to spend hours in record store sifting through stacks of new and used vinyl searching for something new and unique. Just like book stores, record stores were a place to discover old favorites and new gems. A place to find music that you could share with your friends and so much more. there was something about the experience that will never be captured by an online experience, no matter what your source is, be it iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, eMusic, etc.

Predominant.ly designed and built by Open Work wants to change that. They want to bring to the online world the spontaneity of stumbling across a new find or an old favorite while searching for music.  The concept is really pretty clever. Based on color choices Predominant.ly  serves up groups of albums where the covers match your color choices. The data is pulled from iTunes which makes the entire catalog available.  The experience definitely lends itself to the concept of exploration in the digital space.

Albums

Case Study, the “Dumb Ways To Die” campaign.

Earlier this year I posted the “Dumb Ways to Die” video along with additional information on the integrated campaign that was created around it. It is no surprise that the campaign won so many awards at the Cannes Lions 2013 Festival of Creativity. This video was the third most popular viral video of all time. Below is the full case study on just how successful the overall campaign was, and how what started as a local campaign for train safety in Australia, went world wide over night.

Dumb Ways to Die. A Brilliant Safety Campaign from Australia.

I’ve always believed that to get people to change their bad behavior, you need to prompt them with something clever rather than beating them over the head with an in your PSA.

Melbourne Metro in Australia has launched a new campaign to promote safety around metro rail lines. It involves an amazing little animation, with a very catchy little song. The video is a memorable 3 and a half minute long animated music video, that uses black humor and a repeated phrase to sell the final point of “Be careful while waiting for your train”.

This is all part of the The Dumb Ways To Die campaign which is being executed across a number of social mendia channels. While the campaign centers on the YouTube music video (which has been viewed over 16 million times globally in just one week), the campaign is fully integrated across all media channels.

The YouTube video links to the other Dumb Ways To Die campaign aspects: The Tangerine Kitty – “Dumb Ways To Die” song is available for download from iTunes or you can listen to it on Soundcloud here. Dumb Ways To Die has a Tumblr site which features related animated gifs available for download and features the headline “Don’t do any of these OK? Especially the train ones”.  All of these are tied to or point back to The Dumb Ways to Die website which ties together the entire campaign

The integrated campaign centers around shareable content, and leverages platforms like Tumblr, Soundcloudand iTunes to help spread awareness about safety. These 3 platforms in turn support the YouTube campaign which banks on viral distribution to help spread the word.

This is a great campaign from Melbourne Metro with the potential to save lives across the world since the problem is universal world wide.

Face it, iTunes Sucks.

When I got my first iPhone a few years back my only computer was what is now a dying MacBook Pro. At the time I happily set my iPhone up using the laptop, and had the device sync to iTunes authorizing that computer to transfer files from the phone to the Mac. At the time life was good but not perfect. iTunes pretty much sucked then as it does now. And the whole syncing devices for your music and apps was, and is pure BS. That laptop is now on its last legs and I decided to go ahead and try to movie the iPhone to the iMac I bought about a year ago. The process has been a nightmare, and I can’t believe this software is owned and distributed by Apple.

Last night when I plugged my phone in, I got the standard message “This device is synced to another iTunes Library”, the rest of the message basically says if you proceed I’m going to wipe the device of all things not associated with this iTunes Library. I don’t get it, why the hell doesn’t iTunes look at your “Account” and not some computer specific library? If I log into iTunes, it should see that I am the authorized owner of the account, the iPhone, and the iMac and say OK lets back up the phone, and update the iPhone software. It shouldn’t erase anything.

After digging around I found that there is this new feature under the File menu that lets you “Transfer Purchases from you iPhone”. OK that seemed simple enough, but when I went to do that, I got repeated requests to enter my iTunes password for things being transferred. What sucked was it was asking me to authorize my iTunes accounts, for email addresses that haven’t been attached to my account for years. I was asked to provide a password for an email account that I used 8 years ago when I first used the iTunes store. It’s been so long, I couldn’t tell you that password if my life depended on it, so I was forced to use the password reset feature for the account. This happened two more times. I’m not sure what is going on here, but iTunes is obviously linking to some embedded meta data in a hidden file somewhere, and isn’t smart enough to look at the account I’m logged in under, cross check the data, and say “Hey, Same Name, Same Address, Same Billing Info, Same Credit Card Info, Same File and Song Names…” You would think that by the time Apple got to version 10 of this piece o junk software, they would have eliminated all the hardware BS and would be using the cloud to manage your account.

When I looked at some of the chat threads online, I noticed a consistent theme. De-authorize all your computers, Sync your iPhone or iPod, bite the bullet and re-download any apps that were blown away. then reauthorize one computer, and sync your device. Not exactly user-friendly. Not exactly Apple quality when it comes to the end-user experience.

I got lucky. There was only one app it wouldn’t let me transfer, and all my music, photos and contacts made the move when I transferred my files to the iMac from the phone. I ran the latest iOS upgrade and it seemed to work fine. The odd thing is, when I tried to sync my phone again, it told me “Hi this is iTunes and guess what there are items on your iPhone that haven’t been transferred to your computer, if you proceed you might lose these. Do you want to roll the dice and proceed? Are you in a gambling mood?” There is no list of the apps, music, photos, contacts or any other data, just an innocuous message asking you if you want to risk it and move forward. I bit the bullet and rolled the dice. The phone synced, I have no idea what was lost or if anything was lost at all.

Apple I am begging you to fix this. There are a bunch of other issues that I could go into about how iTunes sucks. Issues with it duplicating songs in your iTunes Library for no apparent reason, re-assigning album titles to song tracks even when you have “Manually Manage My Music” turned on in your iTunes preferences, how the whole iTunes application is less about file management these days and more about selling you stuff, but that is a whole post or three for the future.

This is why I try to never plug my iPhone into my Mac. I rarely sync, and when I do it usually happens when a new iPhone software release has come out, or I know I am going to buy a new iPhone or iPad. It really shouldn’t be this hard, and for a company that claims to make the most user-friendly computer experiences in the world, this is one that is far from it.