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Apple Announces Online Music Service

iTunes Music Store offers unlimited CD burns on $0.99 song purchases By Dave Nagel
Apple today put an end to growing speculation about its interest in the music business with the announcement of its own online music service called "The iTunes Music Store." At a launch event in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the new service offers a wide range of audio files with a pay per download approach. The service is offered via iTunes 4, a brand new version of Apple's music playback, management and visualization application.

The new service offers "200,000 tracks and growing," according to Jobs, including some tracks that are exclusive to the Apple service. Each audio track will cost $0.99 per song (with no subscription fees) and will allow users to make unlimited burns to CD for personal use, unlimited copying to Apple's iPod devices and copying to up to three Macintosh computers. In order to prevent mass duplication of audio, there's a restriction on CD burning that requires a playlist to be modified for every 10 CD burns. Music can also be used in applications like Apple's iPhoto.


Audio in the collection is encoded at a "pristine" 128 Kbps AAC format "that rivals CD audio," Jobs said in his presentation. The service itself includes 30-second previews of the music, which, after previewed, can be purchased with the click of a button. Album cover art is also shown in the service, as is streaming video for select artists. The software also offers search functionality and sorting by genre.

iTunes 4 is available for download today for the Macintosh (by noon). A Windows version will be available by the end of the year. A software upgrade for the iPod, required for downloading music from the service, is also available as a free download. For more information, visit http://www.apple.com.


Contact the author: Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Mac OS, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at dnagel@digitalmedianet.com.

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