While some old favorites, like Pogs, are probably well and truly faded, some, like jukeboxes, are just waiting for the right new technology to rescue them from dusty obscurity. In particular, the rapid expansion of wi-fi and smartphones paves the way for the revival of this magical music box.
Almost ubiquitous in ’50s-style diners are the miniature jukeboxes sitting at each table, promising aural joy for only a nickel. As convenient and fascinating as these boxes can be, pocket change is going the way of the diner itself. Most people pay with cards, and even those who carry cash often eschew the smaller coinage.
The answer lies in the growing prevalence of wi-fi hotspots in popular public places and the burgeoning market for niche smartphone applications. It would be simple to create a standard, cross-(mobile)platform application that would present connected users with an iTunes Remote-style library of available tracks for a particular location. The musical offerings would be stored on a wi-fi-connected database operated by the company offering the app. Customers could then queue songs for a quarter in the style of an in-app purchase.
To take it further, the queue order could be affected by “premium” usage fees, frequency of per-customer visits, and promotional events. Adding elements from iTunes Genius and Pandora could yield song/artist recommendations and opportunities to purchase the music instantly if you like it. Another step further, and your app could direct you to other patrons of the establishment who share your musical tastes. A match made in music.
An app like this might already be in development, but if it’s not, it should be. What else would you add to it? Where else can you see a concept like this being applied?