I manage my music on an Apple product called iTunes. I’m not particularly fond of the application, but it makes it easy to sync to my iPod. In the world of music software, iTunes is the best compromise. And by definition, a compromise lacks the inner quality that would make it a truly definitive, all encompassing, ZOMG-this-is-what-I-dreamed-of music manager.
To borrow from the IT man’s jargon, iTunes is definitely not feature-rich (who am I kidding, that’s not IT jargon). Some of the features it does include are about as useful as trying to paint a sinking boat; it just might come in useful, but it’s not worth the hassle. Think about the green + sign on the left corner of the app – it doesn’t maximize the screen but launches the ridiculous ‘mini’ player, which manages to take away even more functionality. Or the iTunes store which, at the click of an accidental mouse press, eats up my bandwidth and turns the Pause button into a Stop.
It seems that Apple wants to make a music player that is as anodyne as possible in order maximize its market appeal. When was the last time such an approach resulted in a Great Product? Compromise is the last thing a truly Great Product has in mind. Look at Bugatti, for instance. They didn’t give two square inches of carbon fiber about what Joe the Plumber was driving when they designed the Veyron. And they made the greatest car in the world. Tata didn’t have time for people who care about superficial and unnecessary modern luxuries like leg room, air conditioning and a ride that minimizes permanent damage to the spinal cord – hence was born the Nano. The best small car in the world.
Similarly, what I want is a music player with some character and gusto, something unabashedly calling out to me, damn everyone else’s musical interests. Unfortunately, it seems that only someone like Sonia Gandhi will have access to such sycophantic tools.
Those who have considerable collections of Indian music – film or classical – will agree with me on this, I’m sure. So, Apple, here are some things you can and should do for us folks me:
- If I have an album of Indian classical music, I don’t want the track name containing everything from the song title to the raga and thalam. Give me tags for both. Right now, I make do with entering the raga under the mysteriously named Grouping tag.
- Lyrics. I don’t usually pay attention to them but, when I do, I like to know who the poet is.
- Auto-correct A.R.Rehman to AR Rahman. And Illaiiyaraajaa to Ilayaraja.
- Auto-recognize these important genres of music: ‘Rajni Intro Song,’ ‘Deva Copy’ and ‘Vaseegara wannabe’
- Delimit the artist tag. “AR Rahman, Shreya Ghoshal” is not one artist, but two. This would also help keep my last.fm account from going crazy
- Crash if someone attempts to add a Himesh Reshamaiyya song
- Insufferable fanboys We Tamil folk love giving our celebrities special titles. We therefore demand a special ‘title’ tag for the singers/composer. This way, we get to idolize and pay respect to demigods like UlagaNayagan Kamal, Isai Puyal Rahman, Maestro Ilayaraja, or even a Little Super Star Simbu (for those unfortunate enough to have an mp3 of Loosu Penne sitting in their hard drive).
As you are well aware, Apple is a company that listens to consumers and accedes to their requests at lightning speed – think about the commendable rapidity with which they brought copy/paste to the iPhone. Don’t be surprised if the next iTunes meets my demands. Just remember where the ideas came from.