Acquire, Manage, Listen

So we’re finally starting to see some sanity in the great “music biz vs. the rest of the world” conflict.

Apple’s iTunes Music Store is an important first step. It’s not perfect, but it marks the start of an online music distribution system that actually shows some respect for the consumer.

I downloaded the new version of iTunes and I’ve played around with the Music Store. It’s a lot of fun. Just browsing through all the songs available and listening to 30 second clips is absorbing. It’s very tempting to buy songs on impulse.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, considering how tempting the service is, I can’t purchase any music without an American billing address.

That’s one of the faults with the service but hopefully it will be opened up to more countries in the future.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if the price per song, currently $0.99, came down, probably to coincide with the service being opened up to Windows users (perhaps through a website rather than a desktop application).

For now, it’s an enjoyable, convenient, and above all, guilt-free way to download music.

There’s surprisingly little Digital Rights Management in place. In fact, the license that accompanies each download, allowing you to burn to CD and distribute copies on three computers, is less restrictive than the distribution rights that come with the purchase of songs on CD.

What would be really great (apart from opening up the service to worldwide use) would be if more independent labels offered songs through the Music Store. 95% of the stuff available through the big five labels is drivel. Still, that 5% of non-drivel represents a lot of potential downloads.

Like I said, it’s a good start.

There’s another nice feature in the new version of iTunes. You can automatically broadcast your playlists over your local network with Rendezvous.

Jessica and I have all our Macs sharing their playlists. Our network machines are named after postmodern novelists (well, it beats the usual Tolkien or Star Trek characters).

There’s my iMac, Joyce, with a playlist collection labelled The Brazen Head. My iBook, Gibson, is sharing The Chatsubo. Jessica’s iMac, Eco, has The Aedificium.

She hasn’t named the playlists on her iBook, Kafka yet. Maybe The Castle.

Have you published a response to this? :