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Whatever happened to iMix?

When Apple introduces a new feature, it's usually done quite carefully, and you can count on it being a hit. But what happens when a new feature is added, hundreds of thousands of people use it, then the Apple community seems to collectively forget about it? I'm talking about iMix.

A few iterations of iTunes ago, iMix was added as a way for people to create and share their own personal playlists with the masses. Hey, with all the social networking hullabaloo, it looked like a sure-fire hit. And indeed, there are over 1.3 million playlists uploaded according to Apple. If you're new to iTunes though, you may not have even known the feature exists. iMix is still part of iTunes, but the prominent link on the main page is gone. To get to it, search for "iMix" in the search field, then look in the "related" field in the results.

Why has iMix fallen off the map? Has the community aspect of iTunes been pushed aside to make room for higher profit sections like movie rentals? Are people still using iMix? Does anyone care? Well, a lot of music marketers and advertisers should care. Imagine the information that can be gained about the popularity of particular songs/artists from the iMix lists. And iMix could be a great resource. Let's say you're planning a wedding, and looking for just the right playlist. what better way to start than to see the playlists of other like-minded iTunes users. If you do an iTunes search of "wedding songs" there are no iMix results, and there's not even a way to search iMix. However, if you navigate to the iMix page, by first following the directions above to find it, there are over 100 wedding song playlists, rated by users like you.

iMix can and should be the cornerstone of a new social networking/community component of iTunes, instead of being a wallflower at the largest online (and beyond?) music retailer.

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