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ITunes Music Store

From Academic Kids

The title of this article is incorrect because of technical limitations. The correct title is iTunes Music Store.
iTunes Music Store currently viewing the United States store.
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iTunes Music Store currently viewing the United States store.

The iTunes Music Store (iTMS) is a paid online music service run by Apple Computer with its iTunes, a popular media player. Introduced on April 28, 2003, the store, which uses DRM restrictions, has since been the dominant online music service, helping the sale of iPods and proving the viability of online music sales.

Contents

Features and restrictions

  • Pricing: One set price for songs (e.g. 99 cents in the US or 79p (pence) in the UK); most albums cost $9.99 in the US. Prices vary depending on the country where the user is registered.
  • Platform(s): Mac OS X (not Mac OS Classic), Windows 2000 and Windows XP (possibly Windows Server 2003).
  • Downloading: Yes.
  • Burning/Copying: Yes.
  • Streaming: Not for purchase, only for 30-second previews.
  • Format: Protected AAC music (extension: .m4p whereas regular AAC files have the extension .m4a) at 128 kbit/s, Audible audiobooks at 32 kbit/s
  • Digital restrictions: Streaming to five computers every 24 hours, unlimited CDs (seven with an unchanged playlist), unlimited iPods. (Formerly: three --then five -- computers per 24 hours; and 10 unchanged playlist burns.)
  • Preview: 30 seconds.
  • Trial: N/A
  • It has sold more than 430,000,000 songs since it was launched.
  • Catalog: More than 1,500,000 files; includes audio books; (originally iTMS contained about 200,000 files).
  • Features: Allowance, gift certificates and gift cards, iMix (user-submitted playlists), Billboard charts, radio charts, advanced search, music videos and movie trailers.
  • Global availability: United States, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Norway, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden, and Denmark addressed credit-card holders only.

Catalog content

The store is the result of a deal with all four major record labels, EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner Bros. It also includes over 600 independent labels. It offers more than 1,500,000 songs, including exclusive tracks from more than 20 artists such as Bob Dylan, U2, Eminem, Sheryl Crow and Sting. Each song can be downloaded for 99 US cents. Free 30 second previews are available of every song. Most albums are priced at 9.99 US dollars, although recently the price of some albums has been raised to $11.99. The user can burn songs to an unlimited number of compact discs, and specific playlists up to 7 disks, after download.

Currently, several dozen new songs are added each Tuesday, and beginning with Moby on July 29, 2003, independent artists are now included. Apple also releases a 'Single of the Week' and usually a 'Discovery Download,' on Tuesdays, which are available at a no cost download for one week.

On August 10, 2004, Apple announced that the iTunes Music Store was the first store to have a catalog of more than one million songs.

The iTunes Music Store also includes over 9,000 audio books, encoded at 32 kbit/s. 90 second previews are offered for every book.

It has recently launch albums on pre-order status, the first one to become available was X & Y by Coldplay.

To the disapointment of many fans, both The Beatles and Led Zeppelin are not included in the iTunes online catalogue (with the exception of a very early Tony Sheridon album with the Beatles as background singers). Though it is not known why Led Zeppelin is not included, The Beatles record company Apple is currently in a legal battle with Apple Computers over the name "Apple".

Internationalization

Originally only Mac OS X users who had credit cards with a U.S. billing address could buy songs with the service, but Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, announced plans to support both Windows and international users. The Windows version of iTunes, and support for the Windows platform from the iTunes Music Store was announced on October 16th, 2003, with immediate availability.

On June 15, 2004, the iTunes Music Store was launched in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Songs were priced at 99 Euro cents ( €0.99) for France and Germany, and 79 pence (0.79) for the United Kingdom. According to an Apple Press Release (http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2004/jun/23itunes.html), the European iTunes Music Stores sold a combined total of 800,000 songs in one week, with 450,000 of those songs sold in the UK [1] (http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2004/jun/23itunes.html). On October 26th 2004 nine countries were added to the iTunes Music Store in a large EU store expansion: Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. This extended availability to all countries in the Eurozone except for the Republic of Ireland, where the iTMS became available on January 6, 2005. These countries also pay €0.99 for songs, and all these stores share the same catalog and are available only in English. The French, German, American, and British stores are localized for their respective countries and have different catalogs. On December 3 2004 the British Office of Fair Trading referred the iTunes Music Store to the European Commission because it prevents consumers in one EU country from buying music from stores in other EU countries, in violation of EU free-trade legislation; the immediate cause of the referral was because the 0.99 price charged in the Eurozone equates to 68 pence in sterling, rather than the 79 pence actually charged there. The iTunes Music Store was launched in Canada on December 3, 2004; Canadian customers pay $0.99 (CDN) per song.

On November 18, 2004, Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported that Apple will launch iTunes Music Store in Japan in March 2005, with 100,000 songs [2] (http://www.macobserver.com/article/2004/11/19.4.shtml). On June 7, 2005, the same paper said that the Japanese store is set to launch in August [3] (http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000050045832/), while Apple Japan said "the story is completely untrue" [4] (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/06/08/apple_japan_itunes/); Apple has maintained a position that it is trying to open the store by the end of 2005.

On May 10, 2005, the iTunes Music Store "went live" for Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark, after about two weeks of speculation about these countries (and Australia) receiving the store. As of yet, the Australian launch date has not been announced.

Market share

The iTunes Music Store was the first of now many online music stores to gain widespread media attention, opening up the path for many other services to join the so-called "revolution." Fans and some executives in the music industry say that the Music Store has more attractive characteristics than previous services such as Rhapsody and MusicNet: it allows the user to legally purchase an unlimited number of songs and transfer them to the iPod, and is comparatively simple and easy to use because it is closely integrated into the iPod and iTunes product lines. Currently, the iPod is the only digital music player that works with the iTunes Music Store (however other players work with iTunes), and iTunes Music Store is the only music store available for iPod users.

The store sold about 275,000 tracks in its first 18 hours and more than 1,000,000 tracks in its first week. When released for Windows, it was downloaded more than 1,000,000 times in the first 3 days and more than 1,000,000 songs were sold in that period. On 15 December, Apple announced that it had sold 25 million songs since the launch in April. In January 2004 at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Steve Jobs announced (as cited in Sellers, 2004) that an unnamed person had purchased 29,500 USD worth of music.

On March 15, 2004, Apple announced that iTunes Music Store customers had purchased and downloaded 50 million songs from the iTunes Music Store. They also reported that customers were purchasing 2.5 million songs a week which translates to a projected annual run rate of 130 million songs a year. The 50 millionth song was "The Path of Thorns" by Sarah McLachlan. [5] (http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2004/mar/15itunes.html)

On April 28, 2004, the iTunes Music Store marked its one year anniversary with 70 million songs sold, the clear dominance in the paid online music market and the slight profit. [6] (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/29/technology/29apple.html) The store also offers hundreds of movie trailers and music videos, in an attempt to boost soundtrack sales. In the conference, Steve Jobs reiterated that the subscription service is still not the interest of customers and reported that only 5 million of the 100 million songs offered in the Pepsi give-away campaign were redeemed, which he blamed on technical problems in Pepsi distribution.

As of March 2, 2005, the iTunes Music Store had surpassed 300 million songs sold. [7] (http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2005/mar/02itms.html)

According to an Apple Press Release [8] (http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2004/aug/10itms.html), the iTunes Music Store currently maintains an over 70 % marketshare of legal music downloads.

On May 10, 2005 Apple announced to have sold over 400 million songs.

File format

Songs are encoded using FairPlay-encrypted 128 kbit/s AAC streams in a mp4 wrapper, using the .m4p extension. In practice, the sound quality is comparable to songs encoded at 160 kbit/s using MP3 or 128 kbit/s using Microsoft's Windows Media Audio WMA format.

While licenses to the AAC compression and the mp4 file format are readily available, Apple has yet to allow their proprietary FairPlay encrytion scheme to be licensed to other hardware manufacturers, so only Apple's QuickTime and iPod can play AAC files encrypted with Apple's FairPlay technology. Motorola is reportedly working on a phone with a special version of iTunes to play songs downloaded from the iTunes Music Store, but details on this have yet to be finalized.

Digital rights management

Apple's FairPlay Digital rights management (DRM) is integrated into iTunes, which manages songs purchased from iTunes Music Store. Users are not allowed unlimited CD burns of individual songs, or to play the songs on more than five computers within 24 hours. But they are allowed to copy the songs to an unlimited amount of iPods.

With the introduction of iTunes 4.5, Apple raised the number of machines allowed to use purchased music from 3 to 5. They also cut the number of times a user can burn CDs of the same playlist from 10 to 7. This adjustment was the result of the renegotiation Apple had with major labels. In 4.7.1, users were further restricted: they were limited to sharing their songs with five computers within 24 hours, rather than the previous five at a time.

*Apple FairPlay technology, however, is not unbreakable. A user can, for example, convert protected files to unprotected MP3 format by burning them to an audio CD, then ripping them back to iTunes. This method, however, reduces the sound quality of the recording. Software (http://www.tech-recipes.com/windows_tips842.html) has emerged that can remove Apple's FairPlay DRM, allowing the files to be used without technological restriction.

Fairplay keeps iTunes customers from using the purchased music on any portable digital music player other than the Apple iPod. On January 3, 2005, an iTunes online music store customer sued Apple Computer, alleging the company broke antitrust laws by freezing out competitors (iTunes Lawsuit (http://news.com.com/Lawsuit+claims+Apple+violates+law+with+iTunes/2100-1027_3-5514244.html?tag=cd.top)).

In March 2005, Jon Johansen ("DVD Jon") released a program called PyMusique ([9] (http://fuware.nanocrew.net/pymusique/)) that allowed iTMS customers to purchase songs without DRM restrictions. On 21 March Apple blocked access to the iTMS with PyMusique. A day later, Jon wrote in his "So Sue Me" post (http://www.nanocrew.net/blog/apple/itms47.html): "The iTunes Music Store recently stopped supporting iTunes versions below 4.7 in an attempt to shut out 3rd party clients. I have reverse engineered the iTMS 4.7 crypto which will once again enable 3rd party clients to communicate with the iTMS."

Promotions

On Super Bowl Sunday, February 1, 2004, Apple launched a promotion with Pepsi in which they gave away 100 million songs, through tokens on selected soft drink bottle caps. Fortunately for Apple, Pepsi failed to properly distribute the bottles to major metropolitan areas until only weeks before the promotion ended, despite a one-month extension of the deadline by Apple. The promotion, however, was repeated beginning January 31, 2005, with 300 million songs available, and an iPod mini given away every hour.

On July 1, 2004, Apple announced that, starting with the sale of the 95 millionth song, an iPod would be given away to the buyer of each 100 thousandth song, for a total of 50 iPods. The buyer of the 100 millionth song would receive a PowerBook, iPod, and $10,000 gift certificate to the iTunes Music Store.

Ten days later, on July 11, Apple announced that 100 million songs had been sold through the iTunes Music Store. The 100 millionth song was titled "Somersault (Dangermouse Remix)" by Zero 7, purchased by Kevin Britten of Hays, Kansas. He then received a phone call from Steve Jobs personally, who offered his congratulations, as well as a 40GB 3rd Generation iPod laser-engraved with a message of thanks.

Design Credits

  • Director of Design: Robert Kondrk
  • Lead Content/Visual Designer: Lan-Chi Lam
  • Lead User Interface/Visual Designer: Michael Darius
  • Lead Visual Interaction Designer: Tim Wasko
  • Production Designer: Alexandrea Anderson
  • Label Relations: Carolyne Lasala
  • Production Manager: Elizabeth D'Errico
  • Lead UI Engineering: Oliver Krevet
  • Senior Producer: Jennifer Deming

See also

References

External links

de:ITunes Music Store es:ITunes Music Store fr:ITunes Music Store it:ITunes Music Store ja:ITunes Music Store nl:ITunes Music Store zh:ITunes音乐商店

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