This weekend, I fired up iTunes for the first time (on both my Mac and PC). I also made my first purchases from the iTunes Music Store (ITMS).
First thing: I do like iTunes. It’s a nice piece of software with a good interface. Some people have complained about memory usage and performance, but on my 2.4GHz Celeron and 1GHz G4, there doesn’t seem to be a problem. Using iTunes and the ITMS was very easy and painless. Synchronization with the iPod was definitely a lot slicker than it was with MusicMatch.
Regarding the ITMS: Apple talks about having 400,000 tracks by the end of October, from all 5 major labels and over 200 independents. But, it’s very easy to spot gaps in their music. Why are bands not signing up for this? I can understand not finding songs by Queen, because the label needs to make sure that digital delivery rights are cleared with the songs’ publisher. But, why can’t I find Nickelback? You’d think that any platinum band releasing a new album should be on ITMS at this point, but they’re not.
I watched Steve Jobs’ announcement of iTunes for Windows. While trashing Windows Media Player, he said “we’ve heard over and over from customers that what they want is to be able to create MP3 files”. Let me state for the record that what I want to buy are MP3 files as well.
ITMS has the least restrictive DRM out there, which I’m happy about. But, if I’m looking to buy a whole album, I’ll buy the CD. With a CD, I can rip good quality MP3s with no DRM hassles at all. The main reason that I’ll use ITMS at this point is that it is the only inexpensive way to buy single songs that is not crippling to use.
Note to the music, movie, software, book (and any other media) companies: copy protection sucks. Provide a good product at a reasonable price and you won’t need it. The software business went through this cycle and unanimously came to this conclusion.