The introduction of the iPad is a clarion call for major music labels to finally recognize the future of the music industry and embrace the development of applications made to run on Apple’s new device, according to a feature article in the latest issue of Billboard Magazine, which officially hits news stands Saturday.
Once the province of industry insiders, filled with reams of stats and reportage on music industry minutiae, behind-the-scenes comings and goings and gossip, Billboard is now a smart and snappy magazine with its finger on the pulse of the larger forces at work in the music industry, with articles seemingly targeting a more general audience while remaining the go-to source for the numbers that drive the industry.
The cover of the current issue promises a look at The Next Killer Apps, though what the article inside actually suggests is that – generally – the next killer apps on the iPad are going to be music-related offerings tied to artist branding that will give consumers something more than the aural experience provided by CDs and music downloads, and will provide the industry new realms of revenue producing products that go well beyond the marketing value of the web content and promotional aspirations of most mobile offerings produced to date.
Citing a recent comScore survey that said music ranks third among the potential uses of the iPad, behind Web browsing and email, Billboard points to the success of Linkin Park’s “8-Bit-Rebellion” app as a template for the offerings consumers can expect to begin pouring out of major labels such as Warner Bros.
Label executives and application developers alike seem to realize the entertainment industry is on the cusp of a new era with the possibilities offered by iPad’s touch interface, its large screen real estate and longer battery life. With users more likely to interact with apps for longer on the iPad than on the iPhone, high hopes exist for the potential of wedding music with game development and social features, and for sparking life into Apple’s iTunes LP format.
Billboard itself believes enough in the direction indicated with iPad’s release that the magazine is launching the first annual Mobile Music App Awards honoring the best music-related mobile apps, to be presented at Billboard’s Mobile Entertainment Live Conference October 5th in San Francisco.
As for how the music industry and software developers may get on in the coming future, a Billboard poll of application developers indicates 90% believe traditional music labels don’t “get” the app business. On the other hand, Warner Bros. senior VP of digital music Jack Isquith understands “the app marketplace [is] a business we need to be in.”
The next six to eighteen months should go a long way toward showing how well the two industries will get along in bed.