Apple has a great monopoly on both the fulfillment and playback of digital music. ITunes is a great player, the iTunes Music Store is the most comprehensive music store available online, and the iPod is the best, most badass player on the market. However, competitors are coming on strong. Microsoft announced the Zune project, Sony is releasing new players (article), and smaller players like the Music Gremlin are doing some cool and innovative stuff.
So, what should apple do to protect this mighty lead? They should give aways as many iTunes tracks as possible! Seriously, like it is halloween or a homecoming parade they should throw tracks away like candy. And, like the clever company they are, that’s exactly what they are doing. Last week they announced that they are giving away tracks to college kids with a deal with thefacebook to give away 10 million tracks (btw: facebook is the 7th most trafficed site in the US). And yesterday Apple annouced a deal with Coke which said in the press release, “Coke will link its website to the iTunes site and give away millions of free music downloads and hundreds of iPod digital music players”
Why is this a good idea? Because every track that a user gets from iTunes keeps them attached to the Apple world. If you have hundreds of tracks that only work in iTunes and iPods, you’re not very likely to buy or use anything else but if you have only mp3’s from CD’s, eMusic, or “found” online it’s pretty easy to go somewhere else. So, to ensure that nobody switches in the future, Apple should lock everyone in with iTunes tracks. Personally, i’m keeping