When iTunes 11 launched last week it restored all of my previous iTunes purchases via iCloud. My first purchase was made on the 9th of February 2007, I think that would have been made on my old (old) laptop whilst I was in University. I realised then that I hadn't 'purchased' an album, even in digital format for years. Back then I used to buy lots of vinyl (I still buy the occasional one) and I used one digital service model, iTunes and it suited me just fine. If someone had asked me if I wanted to start discovering, consuming and buying music in dozens of different ways I would have thought they were a bit strange. But, now I use these services and recognise the amazing value in them and a lot of that has to do with the devices I use.
I like to DJ so I regularly purchase individual tracks, but with the advent of Spotify I listen to all the albums (pretty much) that I want to on there without ever owning them. If I want to take them with me I have my iPhone, if I want them when I have no-signal I make them available offline. I now use iTunes solely for singles and mixes by DJs. Spotify is where albums live for me. I actually found that all of these albums that have now pushed their way into my iTunes was like the cupboard at my Mum and Dad's house that contains my analogue collection regurgitating all my vinyls, CDs and tapes back into my old bedroom.
This got me thinking about how many different digital products and services I now use in comparison to nearly six years ago.
To get an idea of this, I started by looking at my Apps and jotting down which were music related, I did the same with the bookmarks on my web browser and apps on my desktop. Placing all of these apps into a kind of ecosystem like the ones below really gives you an idea of the proliferation of services that I now use. I haven't categorised blogs here as i just wanted to keep it to products and services that weren't subjective.
It’s interesting to look at this through a customer development lens. It's a great example of a customer not knowing what they want until you show it to them or they use it. A large change for me in the last two years is that I have moved from a purely ownership model, to a collection of ownership + subscription + streaming services. There are also plenty of people who chuck in a free model of ownership as well through piracy.
The second big change has been the iPhone. Instead of having my singular function portable music devices, listed chronologically.
- Tape walkman
- CD walkman
- Minidisc player
I now have a device that means I can not only consume music, but discover and purchase it as well. Through the creation of iTunes and the iPod (and later the iPhone) Apple created a gateway for people to start using streaming and subscription services.
Something seismic happened when Apple convinced people to tear their grip away from the physical product and start carrying around these little connected devices all the time. So in a way the disruptors always lay the foundations for the next round of disruption (hat tip to Cat Richardson for that last point).
Taking all of the products and services from my ecosystem I plotted them into a Venn diagram of these three categories of Purchase, Discover and Consume for both mobile and desktop.
As you can see the way I use them changes quite significantly depending on what device I'm using. I use my desktop/laptop as a discovery and consumption device, but mobile is almost strictly a consumption device. A product that sits at the centre is Spotify as I use it for all three categories. Soundcloud plays a large role in both the discovery and consumption of music as I can listen to new tracks and mixes uploaded by artists that later transfer into purchases on Beatport or iTunes.
I then wanted to see what my user journey was when I used to upload CDs to iTunes.
My life got simpler round about the time I was purchasing directly from iTunes.
Then I wanted to map just one of the many ways I use Spotify, with an example of a friend sending a track to me.
This isn't hugely different to the old journey of discovering and obtaining music. I then mapped the service journey of a track I purchased yesterday after hearing it in a mix on Soundcloud.
In order to obtain just one track I used around six products and services and two devices. These are just a few examples of these journeys, there are multiple variations that can be mapped.
Revisiting the customer development idea, the rational, more logical service is the purchase from iTunes load to iPod model. But, to be honest I would hate to go back to that. The way I use the plethora of products and services now means that I spend a similar amount on music to what I used to, but I have so much more freedom and opportunity to discover so much music than was possible before. Services like Spotify and Soundcloud have been so innovative. They understood what people's real musical needs were, not by asking them what they wanted, but by building new services out of new technologies and being around at the right time.
I would love to know what you lot think of the above comments welcome or get in touch @wroissetter