Now that I've made the switch to an Apple computer I have been able to savor the online music store that is built into the iTunes software. I've read reviews by professional journalists in which, inevitably, they point out that there is a limited selection (i.e. only 200,000 songs) and that certain artists like the Beatles aren't available (due to licensing issues, which are the bane of the world of intellectual property).
I am a major music afficianado and I can say that they have plenty of stuff to whet my whistle. Sure there could be more Jazz selections, and yes there isn't much Classical music (the .99 cents per song doesn't scale well for this genre). But let's not nit-pick.
Here's the thing: you can sit in bed with your laptop and plug headphones in and listen to 30 second clips of a lot of different kinds of music. So, even if you aren't buying (fat chance), you can browse and learn a lot about music that you might not have realized you like. And if you find something you like you can click the "Buy" button and in a few seconds it's yours. On your computer. And immediately available for you to sync to your iPod.
You do have an iPod don't you? (Oh, by the way, I've learned that the iPod synchronizes really really fast when connected to an Apple computer -- like a matter of seconds, as opposed to many many minutes when syncing to a PC).
I'm sure you've heard that the iTunes music you download is in a protected AAC format. What about that? Well, I have to say that the AAC format produces much better sounding music. Hence, I am now in the process of re-ripping my CD collection to AAC (which is not "protected" because I'm ripping it; it's only protected when you download from Apple). I don't care about the fact that the music is protected (that's for the protection of the artists, which I think is a good thing). Bottom line: I'm buying a lot of music from the iTunes music store.
Here are 5 reasons why the iTunes Music Store rocks
- If you find that you have a bad quality song you don't have to look for the CD to rip it again. You can just snag the song (the quality of which is assured) from the iTunes store.
- If you are starting out with a new iPod and need to get a lot of varied music you can snag a bunch of individual songs of different varieties, without having to buy whole CDs of music.
- You can browse for music in your underwear (or without underwear for that matter)
- You can snag a bunch of long songs like Freebird (11:41 for the live version) or Low Spark of High Heel Boys (7:18) and you only pay .99 cents. This is also a good way to get your music collection of to a quick start.
- Four words: Impulse buying on steroids.
I guarantee that when Apple makes this service available for Windows users there will be a massive surge of people using the service. This is truly a revolutionary thing. But you have to experience it to understand the full impact. Reading reviews isn't going to convey how insanely amazing iTunes Music Store is.
Quality music, easily purchased on a per-song basis. That's what people have been asking for. They're getting closer to getting what they want.