December 20, 2006

Rediscovering your music

With iPod and iTunes as the de-facto digital music standard consumers are building up increasingly large and rich digital music libraries. In the past you picked what you wanted to listen to by going to the shelf and flicking through your pile of CD's.

With the latest version of iTunes you can regain some of that 'old school' feel by using CoverFlow. If you haven't upgraded already head over to Apple and download version 7. It's probably the biggest change in iTunes since the ITMS (iTunes Music Store) was released. In my view the best new feature is CoverFlow.

Album Art is the digital version of the CD cover - and Apple purchased a company called CoverFlow and integrated it into iTunes. Album Art isn’t new to iTunes 7 but the way you can now use it to view your music is.

CoverFlow allows you to 'virtually' flip through your music collection using Album Art. As you'd expect from Apple it works beautifully and really makes your music collection come alive again. The faster you scroll the faster the covers flip by.

Don't worry if you haven't bought anything through the ITMS because iTunes will automatically download Album Art for your existing collection assuming it exists in Apple's catalogue (and it should, they have over 3.5 millions songs on file). Also, your Album Art is automatically copied to your iPod when you sync it so you can enjoy it on the go. If iTunes can’t find the Album Art for your track you can always scan it in from the original or try and source it from somewhere else. Once you’ve got the file you can simply drag it on the playing track in iTunes to import it.

As Apple expands its presence in the home with iTV (launching Q1 ’07) a visual browsing experience will be critical to its success. With CoverFlow and Album Art, Apple are trying and succeeding in making the digital music experience visual again.