Feedback on iTunes

My earlier piece on my first impressions of Apple’s iTunes for Windows garnered a good bit of feedback. Rather than follow up on each bit individually, it struck me that it made more sense to round ’em all up into one follow-up piece; hence this post.

Sandy Smith has had some similar experiences to mine with the iTunes Music Store (only worse, since he’s into progressive rock, which is even more fringe-y than alt-stuff like I prefer is). He counsels patience, saying that Apple will have to pry each new band out of the hands of the RIAA member companies in order to get them into the ITMS, and that’ll take time. That makes sense, but it doesn’t change ITMS’s limited utility for me until that happens. (Also, Sandy does a neat trick in his post that I didn’t know was possible: linking directly into the ITMS. If you’ve got iTunes installed, these links should launch the program and take you to the page for the band:

Nifty! Wonder how long until we see other apps tying into ITMS…)

Joy Larkin left a comment in which she also makes the point that Apple will need ITMS to get some traction before they can really broaden their catalog. She also has some comments on my musical tastes. Joy, you didn’t like Lemon Jelly? Heresy! Blasphemer!! 🙂 I seriously dig Lemon Jelly — very relaxing stuff, the sonic equivalent of a full-body massage. It’s what I always queue up on those days when I find myself wondering what would happen if I picked my monitor off my desk and threw it through the window.

Finally, Tristan Louis dropped me a note pointing to a piece he’d written exploring the potential of ITMS less as a music store and more as a Trojan Horse for creating a robust, cross-platform digital rights management (DRM) system. It’s quite thought-provoking. Of all the DRM proposals I’ve seen floated, though, I must say that I find the ITMS model the most acceptable (or perhaps I should say the least unacceptable) of the lot; it’s relatively open, free of Draconian restrictions, and does not start from the presumption that the consumer is an Evil Pirate, which is more than I can say for schemes like Windows Media. And that’s really the key to DRM; as long as it’s easy to live with, we’re generally willing to live with it (for proof, see the DVD format, which is Macrovision-encrypted and region-coded, but which is also a smashing success). So, if the whole DRM debate finally ends with the world looking kinda like the ITMS, I don’t think that’d be too bad.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to continue the conversation on this one!



October 19, 2003
9:42 pm

Just in case anybody’s wondering, the linkage is a formerly hidden part of iTunes that has been enhanced in response to user feedback in iTunes 4.1.
In iTunes, go to the Music Store, then right-click (control-click on a single button mouse) and one of the options will be “Copy iTunes Music Store URL”. Copy, paste, and, viola (sic), you’ve got linkage.

Jason Lefkowitz

October 19, 2003
9:48 pm

Hot damn! That’s, like, easy and stuff. Pretty cool.
I wonder how much of the ITMS data is being stored remotely vs. locally… be interesting if every iTunes user had a database of music that you could run queries against from your own app…

Unbeknownst to Me

March 15, 2004
12:40 am

Ask, And Ye Shall (Partially) Receive

a paid subscription music industry rag claims Apple will be releasing “iTunes Producer” to make it easier to submit music to Apple