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Monday, December 22 12:01 EST

Reviews: Digital Music Stores: iTunes Music Store

By Brian Briggs

iTunes Music Store - Napster - Musicmatch
- Wal Mart - BuyMusic - EMusic

iTunesWhat does iTunes offer?
ITunes from Apple is a jukebox and music store. Free internet radio stations are available through the program as well.

How much does it cost?
ITunes sells songs for $.99 per song and albums for $9.95 though album pricing varies.

What rights do I have with the songs?
The songs you buy you can burn to a CD, transfer to an iPod and listen to on up to three computers.

What about selection?
Apple claims to have over 400,000 songs in their library. Of the artists I searched for iTunes had all of them except the ones that were not available on any service.

File Type: Songs are available as AAC encoded files ripped at 128 k.

Problems encountered: Behavior of maximize window fixed during review with latest release (4.2). Renamed all music files without telling me that was what it was doing. Still aggressive about claiming default status for music files despite choice available in setup.

What I did?
I bought five songs for $.99 each from the ITMS.

Songs bought from ITMS:

Semisonic – Closing Time
Third Eye Blind – Semi-charmed Life
The Cure – Pictures of You
Pearl Jam – Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Coldplay – Yellow

General observations: Excellent jukebox program and music store. Itunes has the best search abilities. Other services make you choose whether you are searching for artist, track or album, iTunes does not. Celebrity playlists was an interesting way to find new music. Also allows giftcards. Store is nicely integrated into the jukebox program. Was able to rip a couple problem CDs that Musicmatch had trouble with, though did not give me many choices on how to name the files. Radio stations are worth what they cost, nothing. Loaded up ituneshelper.exe and ipodservice.exe at start up even though I do not have an iPod. Apple has marketing dollars and is the current leader in digital music, so expect many exclusive deals and tracks with iTunes. For example, The Return of the King soundtrack is available only on ITMS.

Who would choose iTunes?
IPod owners. People who want just a place to buy music and not care about streaming. Someone who wants to set an allowance each month for their kids (or for yourself).

Who does not want to use iTunes?
Someone who wants a player to listen to their .wma files. Someone with a digital music player other than an iPod. Someone who wants streaming music.

Store Location: Within the iTunes jukebox program which can be found at Apple's website.

Screenshots: (click image for larger version)

Store Home
Beastie Boys Search



Next: Napster 2.0



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