Computer music 1: iTunes

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Getting music out of machines has never been easy: the mystery of turntable setup, arms and cartridges, heavy platters, light platters, direct drive, belt drive–and then there was the phono preamplifiers–and record cleaning machines–moving on to little silver discs, and DACs. Over years, manufacturers have simplified music machines and, at the same time, consumers have increased their knowledge base and comfort levels with those machines. Today we might snicker at a person bewildered by a turntable, yet even those simple vinyl scrapers weren't all that intuitive to use at first–we've just gotten comfortable with them. And no sooner do we feel at home with one technology, another comes along we have to learn. Sheesh! Some of us throw our hands up and get off the merry go round–perfectly happy with vinyl or perhaps CDs. The problem with stopping your forward progress is two fold: you miss out on the improvements and features, and supplies of media begin to dry up. I think of technology's progress like riding on a party bus. As the bus chugs along the party gets better and better and you're having a hell of a good time. At one point it becomes too much and you get off. Life slows down. Times are quieter. You settle into a routine. You can hear the party on the bus as it goes by each day and you look longingly at the happy faces. Eventually, you hop back on. Most of us have gotten comfortable with computers. We surf the web, we write emails, we pay our bills, we watch the news, we ask Google questions–all online. But what about playing our music? In June of 2013, Apple's music program, iTunes, had half a billion users worldwide. One year later, that number has grown to 800 million, a growth rate of 40%. In another year, they'll likely pass 1 billion. There are 7 billion people on this planet; half of them access the internet daily, and nearly 1/3 of them use iTunes. That's a lot of music being played on computers; both desktop and mobile versions. Today's takeaway: computers come in many forms. I smile when someone tells me they don't feel comfortable with a computer, then proceed to pull out their Android or iPhone and make a call or take a picture. The computers that ran the Space Shuttle are less sophisticated and complex than those running your television, phone, or car. Truth is, you interface with computers every day of your life. Unless you're a relative of Ted Kaczynski, living in a shack out back, your life is filled with computers.
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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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