I still feel pretty left out because I am not an Apple-head, but the rave reviews keep coming in about the new Apple music service. A point I missed in the initial release is that while tracks are $.99 each, most albums in the catalogue are available for $10. The price is still at least 50% too high for both, but at least albums are less than the cost of a typical new CD in the store.
So price is still a big problem, selection is large but spotty - a problem that will improve with time, and obviously, the fact that it is Apple-only excludes 97% of all computer owners - but that issue is supposed to be resolved this year (note comment 19 on this post). But I am coming slowly around.
- EVERY so often some gifted thinker stares at a long-entrenched product or tradition, and with sudden inspiration redesigns it and changes the world for the better. Thanks to these little moments of brilliance, society now takes for granted such advances as self-adhesive postage stamps, seedless watermelon and waxed dental floss.
In 1984, Steve Jobs, Apple Computer's co-founder, pulled off just such a stunt with the Macintosh, whose icons and menus banished the cryptic commands of DOS to the great computer museum in the sky.
Now Mr. Jobs and his team have taken another dysfunctional, user-hostile product and bashed the ugliness out of it: the downloadable-music service.
....iTunes Music Store, succeeds ... You can buy any of its 200,000 songs for $1 each; it's the first music service that requires no monthly fee. You can also buy an entire album for $10; it's the first music service that makes downloading an album less expensive than buying a CD. And you can do almost anything you like with the music you buy (like copying it to CD's, to other Macs or to iPods); it's the first music service that doesn't view every customer as a criminal-in-waiting.
Using complex background technology to create simple-seeming products has always been Apple's most important talent, and the iTunes Music Store is a classic example. The truth is, you can't exactly do anything with the music you buy. For example, you can burn your downloaded music onto as many CD's as you like, but only 10 consecutive times without rearranging their playback order. It's a precaution that prevents mass production of illegal CD copies, but couldn't possibly inconvenience everyday music fans.