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Apple Launches Pay-Per-Download Site and New iPod Print E-mail
Monday, 28 April 2003
Apple computer today launched their own pay-per-download music system for Mac users via Apple’s incredibly slick iTunes music management software (available free at Apple.com). Apple users that love music use iTunes as their command center for managing their MP3 files, ripping CDs and now in version 4 of iTunes, buying music.

Tracks cost the standard $0.99 per song and each tune has a 30 second demo for you to audition before you pop for the fee. Apple’s Music Store has been neatly and unobtrusively added into the “Source” column of the main window of iTunes in with other popular elements like your library of MP3s, your custom play lists and internet radio. Downloading and installing iTunes 4 took less than 5 minutes with a DSL connection. A few more minutes went into downloading and installing the latest version of QuickTime for improved multi-media functionality. What is most notable about iTunes is how seamless it works as compared to the peer-to-peer networks that have caused the record labels such upset. Can you still steal music on the internet using Kzaa, Morphius or Limewire? Definitively yes, but iTunes 4 offers some distinct advantages for your $0.99 per download. The speed for which you can search for songs and the relevance of the searches is absolutely superior to the peer-to-peer networks. The 30 second demos allow you to shop for music in ways that brick and mortar record stores should be scared of.

It is important to note that on the first days worth of searches, that not every song from every artist is on the system. Seemingly, most of the major labels are in with some level of support but they only give some elements of an artist’s portfolio – not the whole thing. If the new breed of pay-download sites start making some money, the labels will jump on-board with even more content.

The last piece of the puzzle is a new, more refined and larger iPod music storage device which is lighter, even more slick (which is hard to believe) and can hold up to 7500 songs in your palm with a starting price of $299. The iPod connects with one Firewire cable to the back of your Apple computer and iTunes does the rest. Unlike a peer-to-peer network this Apple system connects the dots in a way that is literally idiot proof. Explaining how to download and manage music from a peer-to-peer system and get it on a peripheral device like an MP3 player or rip it on to CD is often too much tech for the mainstream consumer, AKA: not a college kid. The ease of use and total package of the Apple system will be very appealing to the Apple audience as well as the new convert to the Mac way of computing.

Apple is a boutique player in the world of PCs with an approximate share of the computer market at about 11 percent but what they do well they do very well. ITunes 4 is no different although it might make you think different.

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