Apple launches iTunes Music Store

Apple today launched the iTunes Music Store, an online music store that lets customers quickly find, purchase and download the music they want for just 99 cents per song, without subscription fees. The iTunes Music Store offers groundbreaking personal use rights, including burning songs onto an unlimited number of CDs for personal use, listening to songs on an unlimited number of iPods, playing songs on up to three Macintosh computers, and using songs in any application on the Mac, including iPhoto, iMovie and iDVD.

“The iTunes Music Store offers the revolutionary rights to burn an unlimited number of CDs for personal use and to put music on an unlimited number of iPods for on-the-go listening,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO in the press release. “Consumers don’t want to be treated like criminals and artists don’t want their valuable work stolen. The iTunes Music Store offers a groundbreaking solution for both.”

The iTunes Music Store features over 200,000 songs from music companies including BMG, EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal and Warner. Users can easily search the entire music store to instantly locate any song by title, artist or album, or browse the entire collection of songs by genre, artist and album. Users can listen to a free 30-second high-quality preview of any song in the store, then purchase and download their favorite songs or complete albums in pristine digital quality with just one click.

The iTunes Music Store also features exclusive tracks from over 20 artists, including Bob Dylan, U2, Eminem, Sheryl Crow and Sting, as well as special music videos from several of these artists which users can watch for free. In addition, the iTunes Music Store highlights new releases, staff favorites and up-and-coming artists, and delivers a compelling variety of music from many genres and time periods, ranging from Rock and Hip Hop to Jazz and Classical. The ability to browse the entire music store by genre, artist and album combined with free high-quality previews of every song lets users explore music in an entirely new way, to easily find the hits they love and discover gems they’ve never heard before.

All music on the iTunes Music Store is encoded in the industry-standard AAC audio format at 128 kilobits per second which enables smaller files and faster download times while rivaling CD-quality sound superior to the quality of MP3 files at the same size. The AAC audio format, developed by Dolby, was also adopted to provide the audio encoding for the industry-standard MPEG-4 video format.

The iTunes Music Store is fully integrated into iTunes 4, the fourth major release of Apple’s popular digital music jukebox software, allowing users to purchase, download, organize and listen to their music using just one application. iTunes 4 features major new enhancements including Rendezvous music-sharing between Macs, so users can legally stream their music to other Macs without the hassle of copying files from computer to computer.

iTunes 4 with the iTunes Music Store is available as a free download immediately at The iTunes Music Store requires a valid credit card with a U.S. billing address, a Mac equipped with iTunes 4 and Mac OS X version 10.1.5 or later. Further information about Apple’s digital music products can be found at and


  1. I went and tested the service today in the Apple Store. While the catalog they are offering, and the format, has some promising aspects, it is tremendously disappointing as it is now.

    To some degree, I figured that I would be disappointed because I figured that the service would not be offering much in the way of independent music. That’s a big part of the prolem, but the major label catalog is a really perfunctory list as well. For example, artists like Prince were missing whole albums (though the service had his greatest hits and a few individual albums), Madonna was nowhere to be found, there is little in the way of remixes or alternate versions of songs, and few artists who have never been on the top 40 seem to be on the list at all.
    if Apple is to create a database that is important historically as well as financially, it will have to build a catalog that is comprehensive. It will need the entire Madonna catalog, and it will need to acquire indie rock outfits that have long gone out of print. It will need music from different eras and it will need to develop itself quicky, because right now, the catalogs on Kazaa, Limewire, and other file sharing services continue to be more all inclusive.
    Part of what made Napster such a force to be reckoned with was that it was a centralized database which pulled together millions of listener’s catalogs, providing for an endless array of styles and genres. A company like Apple can accomplish this if they invest the time and money, but it will not be easy. Apple should build street teams, contacting record store clerks, musicians, and even A & R executives who could help the company acquire music that is rare, out of print, and important to non commercial genres. It will need to hire scores of people to do this, but it is the only way.

    200,000 songs is nothing. In fact, it’s less than Pressplay offers now and is roughly the entire collected data of 200 ipods. They’ve sold 600,000. There is so much work to be done.

  2. I can’t believe all these people complaining about how a brand new and experimental system isn’t perfect at launch. I used it tonight and I am impressed. It loaded perfectly, I scanned through their library and bought two songs already. Cudos to Apple because again they are not of this world and their well integrated products are a true joy to use.

  3. i tried the music service on my ibook with only iTunes 4 without installing the quicktime 6.2 upgrade. When i came home and installed the upgrade, along with the iTunes 4 upgrade, then everything worked fine. i am making my first purchase now, quite easilly (The entire “Hair” soundtrack, $10.00 for all 27 tunes). i am still anxious to see how these burn to CD because the files appear and even say they are “Protected AAC” files. i like to make complilations and frequently cut the songs in Peak before compling them in Toast’s Jam to then burn to CD. i only use iTunes for quick burns. If i can’t use these files in a real fashion like this then they are useless and i won’t use the services… only a few more seconds will tell… but, so far, things work great, kudos to Apple!

  4. I have to say the system is almost too easy to use. I planned to spend just $5 to see how it works and whether I thought it was useful, and had to force myself, multiple times to remember my self-imposed limit.

    One of the things that I find absolutely beneficial about this service, is the ability to cater to a couple hobbies of mine. Over the last few years, I’ve become hooked on a songs genealogy. Typically, a particular song will interest me, and then I try to collect MP3s of everyone who has sung it, as well as other historical tidbits. I have a fantastic collection of “I Put A Spell On You” that ranges fromScreaming Jay Hawkins to Sonique, to a very starnge rendition by Creedence Clearwater Revival. So far, I’ve collected 15 different variations, a few by the same artist.

    Recently, I’ve been doing this for “Dream a Little Dream of Me”. I went to iTunes, logged into the music service, typed in the title of the song, and walla, they return 21 songs–most are Louie & Ella renditions which I have already, but I’m now the proud owner of a version by the Beautiful South and Laura Fygi, both who had otherwise escaped my radar on this song. I get to add these to renditions by Doris Day, Diana Krall, KD Lang, Dean Martin, etc. ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.

    Other Comments…
    I’m not liking the new font in iTunes, its kind of wimpy.

    Lyrics. When will Apple add support for lyrics. With webcore providing most of the Music Store functionality, it seems it would be easy to add links to one of the many lyric search engines, within the system.

    I like the browse, search, and history functions in the music store, as well as the ability to view album covers, and purchase older albums.

    Independent Labels. Sure the Big 5 is great, but it would be great if Apple makes a future effort to include independent labels and artist?musch like self-publishers can have Amazon sell their book(s).

    Overall a great first use experience, though I may have to change my .Mac credit card to one, with a lower credit line ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />)

  5. no beatles, no rolling stones… i know the service is tailored for the US at the moment but there is SO much content missing… plus what is the deal with PARTIAL albums???

    and why can’t they allow users from outside the US? most internet shoppers are used to buying in dollars and credit cards work internationally…

    having said that the browse and preview feature is amazing, and i can’t wait til the service has millions of tracks

  6. What was Jobs supposed to have said recentyly? “F**k ’em? Well it seems that that attitude is alive and well when it comes to non US customers of the iTunes Music Store. Credit cards are universal after all.

  7. I’ve already bought an entire MxPx album with 32 songs on it for $11.99 It all downloaded in 3 mins. 32 songs in 3 mins. That would have taken me a few days to find and get all the songs in aquistion pluss i would have a poor quality mp3 without the not very useful but cool album art. Pluss apple gets part of my money :o) I owe stock in them.

  8. My biggest gripe with the recording industry was not the financial silliness of buying an entire CD for a couple of decent tracks, but their inexplicable insistence that such highway robbery somehow equalled “artist’s rights” and “support for creativity.”

    So I eagerly Kazaad and Napstered and, most recently, Gnutellad my favorite songs sometimes just to spite the RIAA eggheads. With my favorite artists (generally small label musicians who actually FILL an album with good music) I bought their CDs: not out of some abstract sense of loyalty, but because it was the most convenient way for me to get music I wanted.

    What a pleasure it is now to have the iTunes Music Store, with a suprisingly diverse group of big name hit machines and idiosyncratic musical auteurs. More importantly, how wonderful it is to buy a single track for a single buck, without having to sift through the other 13 or 14 tracks worth of crap.

    I think I can safely call an end to my days as an entertainment pirate. I’m $20 into my legally obtained digital music career, with no signs of slowing anytime soon.

    Congrats to Apple, yet again, for changing this crazy digital age for the better.

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