Helloooooo music store. It’s about freakin time!
At A$1.69 (US$1.26) per track, $16.99 ($12.71) for an album, and $3.39 ($2.54) for videos, it’s hard to see the Oz iTunes Music Store as a particularly great value equation when their biggest competitors —BigPond and Destra— have been around longer and have underpriced Apple since inception. iTunes’ only saving grace is that it has the iPod.
There’s plenty of content, with what appears to be a wholesome front-page focus on Australian acts like Kasey Chambers, the Veronicas, the Dissociatives, Missy Higgins, and Evermore, with some exclusive content thrown in there too. This is important: Aussies are more patriotic in their music than their politics —seven of today’s Top 10 downloaded tracks are from Aussie acts— and as I’ve mentioned, if you don’t tailor your service to your audience, you’re doomed.
Personally, I’m unlikely to use the store all that much. I like CDs, and I like buying CDs. I have a backlog of albums that I’ve pirated that I still want to buy —some of these albums I ripped from friends as much as a year ago— and the fact that I haven’t deleted them yet means I value their presence in my music collection: I will be buying them in time, probably next time someone tricks me into visiting JB HiFi. I buy CDs for the same reason I buy LPs: I like physical objects, I like physical ownership, and I like keeping my options open. I know, I’m a dinosaur.
Plus there’s that whole DRM thing that I’m not altogether supportive of.
Podcasts are there, but… well, podcasts have always been free and available to anyone with or without an iTMS account, even though they’re something I really haven’t gotten into until recently. I think it just took this long to get the decent content out there. IT Conversations has been around a long time, and I get a lot of value out of them, so between ITC Programming, ITC Marketing, CocoaRadio, and 43Folders I have myself pretty well covered on commute, at the gym, or just around the house.
Where I probably will end up using the store is in impulse buys of single tracks from the kinds of artist I know don’t have anything noteworthy on the rest of their album, if only because iTunes will be quicker and more reliable than P2P networks. Ditto to music videos: I love music videos, but very few CDs come with them on board and the file-sharing networks just don’t cut it. Then, of course, there’s the Free Download Of The Week and iTunes Exclusives.
I can already feel them breaking my will.