iTunes Stores (Thousands of Them) – Live?

Maybe it’s a flight of fancy.But could be that Apple is intending to turn every bar, restaurant and other public locale that plays music into a retail store.
Written by Tom Steinert-Threlkeld, Contributor

Maybe it’s a flight of fancy.

But could be that Apple is intending to turn every bar, restaurant and other public locale that plays music into a retail store. An iTunes store.

Take a look at this patent application dated March 5 for “Dynamic Presentation of Location-Specific Information,” and attributed to the Technology & Innovation Law Group, PC, in Cupertino.

The idea appears to be to send the user of a portable electronic device – like an iPod, iPhone or iPod Touch – information about some kind of media – like a song, video or movie – that is playing in a particular retail establishment at the particular time that a user of that device is there.

To wit:

Businesses can also play music, movies or music videos at their establishments for the benefit of employees and patrons. When a patron hears a song being played at the store, the patron could (while still at the establishment) attempt to remember the name of the song and then navigate to a portion of an online media store, e.g., iTunes media store, that offers the media content of the song for purchase. The navigation, however, can be cumbersome particularly when the patron does not know the exact name of the song. There can also be various versions (e.g., remixes, live version, acoustic version, clean version, explicit version) of some songs which can further complicate the navigation. These complications in navigation can frustrate a patron and cause them to fail to locate the desired song in the online media store. Electronic commerce (e-commerce) activity with respect to such songs, such as purchasing digital versions for download, can be frustrated given that locating of a particular song being played in an establishment on an online media store can be cumbersome.

This patent, it would appear, covers technology that would make it not cumbersome to locate that song, video or movie.

And, of course, energized by that song, video or movie and the ease of being able to download a copy to aforementioned iPod, iPhone or iPod Touch, buy the sucker.

Wonder how the folks at Shazam feel about this. These are the folks who have created an iPhone app that lets anyone use its “music recognition technology “ to identify music that is playing - even under noisy conditions “simply by Shazaming it.” Using an iPhone, the user can find out the artist and song title of a piece of music playing in the room. Then, buy it on iTunes.

Of course, Apple may just be stockpiling this patent. It may not intend to use it.

Or the way it reads may not truly indicate the way Apple intends to use it.

But from here, a straightforward reading would seem to indicate that Apple wants to turn tens of thousands of retail establishments nationwide into iTunes stores.

And the cash register will be the iPods or iPhones that patrons carry into the bars, restaurants and other bricks-and-mortar stores of their choice.

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