I've been sitting on this thought for weeks now. I find the idea of iTunes and the AppleStore exciting. I have been considering the potential links between .mac, iTunes, and the AppleStore. I see the seeds of a market place for independent art. Many creative professionals are already Apple enthusiasts. It's insanely easy to publish digital creations with .mac: just drag it to your iDisk, connect it to your web page. iTunes points the way to connecting a media player to a media source allowing money to exchange hands. Just connect a few more dots.
Let all the media players be connected to the AppleStore in some fashion. Let .mac subscribers move their creations into a ForSale folder on their iDisk. Let those ForSale items be purchased and downloaded through the AppleStore, and directly through the media applications included on all Apple computers. Somehow the money collected at the AppleStore needs to find its way into the artist's hands.
On the surface it sounds like a great democratization of artistic creation. That comes with all sorts of pros and cons, but on balance I think it will be excellent. Looking a little more deeply, does it scare you to think of Apple (or any corporation) at the center of that kind of market place? If Microsoft were to beat Apple to it, would it scare you to think of Microsoft at the center?
In the long run, most of those connections are trivially easy. But there are all sorts of nasty legal and political issues to slow our progress from here to there. We are in for an interesting ride.