Okay, so in between all the other hecticity currently ongoing in my life,
I managed to check out Apple's new music service. Although I'm not interested
in approximately 90% of the music offered so far, that still leaves me with
2000 songs whose "buy" buttons call my name. The process is simple, the files
are mine and not locked up with DRM, and although I hope and expect the price
structure to change (ie. maybe price based on popularity?), a dollar a song
isn't horrendous considering that I get what I want on demand and without
hopping in the car and going anywhere. So far, so good.
So... This got me to thinking in the last 10 minutes: What about an indie clone of the Apple Music Service? One using RDF or some other XML format to offer up the catalogues of record labels? Include all artists, albums, songs, and any various and sundry bits of trivia about all the above. Establish a modular mechanism for specifying payment process (ie. paypal, credit card, free, upload a song), and make the whole interface as slick and easy as iTunes'.
The real trick I see in this, though, is to make the file format for music vendors fairly easy yet flexible. It should be as easy or easier than an RSS feed for a blog. Let a hundred of these mushrooms bloom, aggregate, search, and buy. Make it distributed and not dependant on any particular music company or technology company.
Not a terribly original idea, but that's what I just thought of. Sounds like a good semantic web app that could have some umph going for it in the immediate future.