October 13, 2005 – 11:25 am
So Steve Jobs launches the video iPod yesterday – and nobody seems terribly happy about it, apparently. How come there’s another buggy version of iTunes? Why on earth would I want to watch TV shows on a three-inch screen? Why would I want to pay for music clips I can watch on MTV?
I seem to be the only one in the blogosphere that’s sitting here thinking – oh, cool…
Let’s forget for the moment the stupidity of that MTV argument. That’s a bit like saying why buy records when there are radio stations? Let’s also overlook the fact that I’m really not that interested in buying the promo clip for the last Kaiser Chiefs single… at least, not just at the moment (I have to confess an inexplicable fondness for them and the other ‘K’ bands – Killers, Kasabian… though not Keane).
I am, it should be pointed out, a person who collected and kept – well into adulthood – 18 3-hour video tapes of music clips recorded off Radio With Pictures in the mid-late 1980s. I have since released them into the wild, but I totally get the long tail potential of music promo videos.
Sometimes, I want to go back and watch the clip for PIL’s ‘Seattle’ or Lloyd Cole’s ‘My Bag’. Owning them in reasonable quality, in stereo, on a random access device makes perfect sense to me. I did get bored with fast-forwarding and rewinding and ejecting VHS tapes to watch the clips I wanted to watch.
And I like music promo videos. Some of them are perfect little works of art in and of themselves. And some are just cool.
This, my friend, is where the much feted ‘Long Tail‘ kicks in. I want to plug an iPod video into my telly and watch, say, a selection of kiwi music clips. I want to be able to carry that video to a friend’s place and watch them there as well.
And while I might not be iTunes’ biggest customer, it’s probably something to do with the fact that I haven’t really been an active purchaser of singles in any format for at least 25 years.
But remember, this is something new: the ability to select music video clips a la carte and watch them in any order you choose. I’m not entirely convinced I should be paying for the contemporary ones – they are, after all, expensive telly ads for CDs – but then I’m not really in the market for those ones either.
Let me know when the video for Shriekback’s ‘Nemesis’ is up online – or that promo clip Miles did for the Tutu album – and they can have my cash.
In the meantime, if you want any third party iPod accessories – buy them now while they’re still cheap enough…