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Before Beats: A Walk Through Apple’s Digital Music History, 1977 to 2014

With the deal confirmed at last, it’s easy to balk at the $3 billion handshake between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. After all, it’s far from clear just what Apple has in mind for the maker of headphones and its digital music-streaming service.

But Apple, widely credited with accelerating the first digital music revolution, could be poised for another industry shake-up—this one well overdue. After all, music has coursed through the company’s veins for longer than we often remember. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see.

1977: Apple II

Beyond its role in popularizing the personal computer as we know it, the Apple II line foreshadowed Apple’s sonic future. It wasn’t initally promising, though; while third party peripherals expanded its musical repertoire, 1977’s 8-bit Apple II began with only the most rudimentary audio features.

By 1986, however, the Apple II had evolved into the 16-bit Apple IIgs (the “gs” stands for “graphics and sound”), a precociously audio-savvy machine featuring a wavetable music synthesizer—a first for personal computing at the time. The Apple IIgs commanded a loyal following all the way through 1992, when the Macintosh line took the Apple II’s baton.

Want to rock out to Apple II era MIDIs with a little help from a more modern synthesizer? Well, it’s your lucky day.

1991: QuickTime

Originally introduced in 1991, Apple’s QuickTime Player broke new ground for multimedia computing, which barely existed at the time. In 1994, QuickTime added support for music track playback that transcended existing computer audio quality and only necessitated small (now infinitesimally teensy) data files, like MIDIs, with its own native sound synthesis engine.

Over time, QuickTime grew into Apple’s default video playback program, which lives on today. (For instance, you’ll need it to watch Cook’s keynote speech next week at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.)

2001: iPod

The Power CD, a 1993 Apple digital-music flop, may not make this list, but the iPod certainly earned its place. Released in the relative dark age of 2001, the first iPod offered “1,000 songs in your pocket” and a nascent iTunes, then just a “digital jukebox”.

The iPod embodied the kind of gestalt we’ve come to expect from Apple: an exciting, refined device that consumers didn’t even know they needed yet. 

Apple iPod sales over time

Apple iPod sales over time

As it began to capture the market’s attention in 2005, the iPod snowballed into the world’s premier digital-music gadget, cementing Apple’s image as flagbearer of the digital music revolution. With the later introduction of the entry-priced iPod Shuffle, Apple effectively made personal digital-music players available to everyone and anyone. 


 

2003: iTunes Store

Apple introduced its first version of iTunes, built from its acquisition of early MP3 player SoundJam MP, in 2001. Two years later, with iPod hardware and iTunes as a software framework, Apple could finally introduce its biggest game-changer yet: a digital storefront stocked with 99 cent songs that upended the music industry as we knew it.

2004: GarageBand

As the iPod picked up steam into 2004, Apple rolled out GarageBand, a platform for digital-music creation that grew increasingly robust over the years. Now available for iOS as well as OS X, GarageBand was a key step in transforming a growing base of music consumers into creators as well, while also buying some goodwill with existing musicians who wanted to explore digital tools.

2007: iPhone

When Apple remixed its hit MP3 player into a smartphone, everything changed. It’s hard to overstate the impact of the iPhone in any realm of consumer technology, and digital music is no exception. The advent of the iPhone meant that we no longer needed to carry around two separate devices, one for calls and one for music and media.

By blending the utility of a phone, a digital music player, a pocket-sized computer and later an app platform, the iPhone took the market by storm and expanded its already massive digital music footprint.

2010: iPad

The iTunes Store had already steeped the mobile world in apps by the time the first iPad hit, and as the most iconic tablet ever created picked up steam, it gained traction among creative developers and musicians alike. Suddenly major artists like Gorillaz and Bjork were making inventive albums on yet another Apple device we didn’t know we needed.

With its larger screen and touch interface, and growing pool of music creation apps, the iPad made a huge impact on casual/indie digital-music creation and even the DJ scene

2014: Beats

Apple’s decision to purchase the hardware and digital music brand Beats struck plenty of folks as out of the blue, but it may have been crazy-like-a-fox from the start. The deal brings both Beats Music (the digital streaming app) and Beats Electronics (the hit line of headphones and speakers) into Apple’s fold.

Perhaps more important, it brings on board Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, music industry insiders who could shake digital music up once again—this time from the inside out.

Header image via anamanzarphotography, other images via Wikimedia Commons

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Increase Mobile Ad Performance Through Advanced Call Analytics – Webcast

Each day, more and more people are shopping with their mobile devices. To succeed in this market, you need deeper insights into your mobile ad campaigns. Join us Tuesday, June 3rd for this Digital Marketing Depot webcast to learn how to use call analytics to gain and leverage those insights….



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How to Increase your Site Ranking through On Page SEO – Business 2 Community


Business 2 Community
How to Increase your Site Ranking through On Page SEO
Business 2 Community
As an online business owner, you need to understand that without optimizing your site you stand no chance of making it to the search engine results. Then how can you reach your potential customers? To increase the traffic from organic search you need

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How To Build A Local Brand Through Online Marketing

The terms Brand and Brand Marketing are usually associated with large businesses. Having a brand is seen as something significant — something that only businesses with big ideas and even bigger wallets can afford to invest in and create. But that’s not true. Businesses of all sizes can…



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Drive engagement and loyalty through smart mobile site design

Mobile empowers users to access your site at anytime and from anywhere. Is your site ready for them? Your mobile site should allow users to quickly and easily find what they’re looking for without sacrificing richness of content. While there are a lot of expert opinions about how to do this, very few are based on actual data and research. So we partnered with AnswerLab to study more than 100 mobile users as they completed conversion-focused tasks across a diverse group of sites. From this research, we developed 25 principles of mobile site design to help you develop a mobile site that both delights your users and drives engagement.

Let’s take a closer look at three findings from the research:

Primacy of site search
Study participants with a specific need, especially those visiting retail sites, turned to site search to find what they were looking for. Participants were quick to abandon sites that returned irrelevant search results or a large set of results that they were unable to narrow.

Key takeaway: Ensure site search is visible on the homepage via an open text field, returns relevant results, and is equipped with advanced features, like auto-complete and filters, to get users what they want quickly.

Mobile site misconceptions
If presented a choice, study participants would often tap on the link to visit the “full site” due to a perception that they’d be missing out on something by staying on the mobile site. Choosing the “mobile site” implied to them that they were not getting the “full” experience, when in reality, the mobile site offered most, if not all of the functionality in an easier-to-view format.

Key takeaway: If your mobile site provides the same content and functionality as your desktop site in an easier-to-use format, then there is no need to provide a link to the desktop site. If you do decide to provide users with a link to the desktop site, then use terms like “desktop site” instead of “full site” to be clear that both sites offer a complete experience.

Sites with a mix of mobile optimized and desktop pages provide a poor user experience
Unsurprisingly, it was easier for participants to navigate mobile-optimized sites on their mobile devices than desktop sites on their mobile devices. However, sites that included a mix of desktop and mobile-optimized pages were actually harder for participants to use than sites with all-desktop pages.

Key takeaway: To improve user experience, task completion and conversion rates, go all in and optimize your entire site for mobile. If launching in phases, then make sure users don’t have to traverse between desktop pages and mobile optimized pages to complete their tasks.

To review our complete findings, download the Principles of Mobile Site Design from Think Multi-Screen. Use the principles to review the effectiveness of your existing site or to guide the creation of your first mobile-optimized site.

Posted by Jenny Gove, User Experience Researcher, Google

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Bing Launches ‘Bing Saves’: Save And Organize Content Found Through Bing Searches by @mattsouthern

Bing has officially launched a new feature designed to help users save, organize, and share the content they find on Bing searches. Bing Saves is available for access as a public beta on bing.com/saves, where you can also get toolbar bookmarklets that allow you to save content to Bing that you find elsewhere on the […]

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Matt Southern

Matt Southern is a marketing, communications and public relations professional. He provides strategic digital marketing services at an agency called Bureau in Ontario, Canada. He has a bachelors degree in communication and an unparalleled passion for helping businesses get their message out.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Building Links Through Content Marketing by @navneetkaushal

Content marketing shouldn’t be done just for links. That said, if you are developing quality content, your content marketing can – and should – include the acquisition of quality links. In the day and age of Google algorithm changes and penalties, the real question isn’t just how to get links for your content, but rather […]

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Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of India’s leading search marketing agency PageTraffic. You can follow him at twitter @navneetkaushal.

The post A Beginner’s Guide to Building Links Through Content Marketing by @navneetkaushal appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Got Writer’s Block? Content Marketing Fatigue? 5 Ways to Break Through from @Buffer by @BelleBethCooper

When you’re facing a blank page with no idea what to write, it’s hard to imagine how you’ll ever get to the other side of a finished piece. I’ve gone through this a few times, so I thought it might be helpful to share the methods that have worked for me. 1. Be honest & […]

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Belle Beth Cooper

Content Crafter at Buffer. Co-founder of Hello Code. I write about social media, startups, life-hacking and science.

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Yahoo Improving Local Search Through Partnership With Yelp by @mattsouthern

In a report published over the weekend by the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo looks to be improving their local search efforts through a partnership with Yelp. The partnership involves including local listings and reviews from Yelp directly within Yahoo’s search results pages; Yelp has a similar partnership with Bing and Apple. The exact details of […]

Author information

Matt Southern

Matt Southern is a marketing, communications and public relations professional. He provides strategic digital marketing services at an agency called Bureau in Ontario, Canada. He has a bachelors degree in communication and an unparalleled passion for helping businesses get their message out.

The post Yahoo Improving Local Search Through Partnership With Yelp by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Google’s Matt Cutts: Don’t Try To Build Links Through Article Directories

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, posted a video answer encouraging webmasters not to use article directory web sites with the goal of building links. The question posed was: Links from relevant content in article directories — Seen as good or bad? eg. I link my beauty website from a…



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