A bit of a return to form (IMHO) for the Welcome to Macintosh podcast this season, after the preceding episodes concentrated on stuff around emoji that I didn't find at all engaging. This week's episode was about events that took place before I'd Switched to the Mac, so I was aware of them but didn't have a horse to back in that race. Episode 12 Don't Panic is all about how Macs dealt with the rise of the MP3 and Apple's eventual decision to produce iTunes, as seen from the perspective of a very different Mac software compny:

If you have a music library on your computer, you probably use iTunes. It might not be by choice – there's not much out there. But before iTunes, there was another app. An app that was beloved by many. An app that was quirky and strange and delightful. An app called Audion […]

It helps that the founders of Panic Software1 are so very relaxed about competing with the corporate behemoth who controls the operating systems they support, and are happy to concede that had it been them rather than their Mortal Enemies from SoundJamMP who ended up working for Apple on iTunes they might well be the ones sitting there now wondering how to untsngle playing music from all the other things that iTunes doesm just as Apple themselves do nowadays. The thing is, it's hard to imagine Steven Frank and Cabel Sasser having both joined Apple when iTunes was young and stuck around through the pressure to add just one more feature to iTunes and turn it into the hub of (most) things media-file-related in macOS X that it remains.2

If you do listen to the podcast episode, be sure to listen to the very end, where they discuss the prospects for converting music files to MP3 in Harpsichord Mode.

  1. I should declare that while I Switched to the Mac too late to try to run Audion, I have since been a very satisfied user of other software from Panic. Transmit is a very solid, boringly reliable FTP client: just what you want for transferring files back and forth and being in no doubt about whether they got there.

  2. To be fair, I suspect that some of the sense of calm Sasser and Frank exhibit is a product of looking at the issue 20 years on when they've successfully built a business doing software their way.