Knight Ridder reporter: iTunes Music Store offers ‘little actually new’ over competing services

“I’ve just yanked myself out of the infamous Steve Jobs reality distortion field so I can try to give a rational evaluation of Apple Computer’s new iTunes Music Store service for downloading songs: It offers modest improvements over competitors in some features, while falling short in others,” reports Mike Langberg for Knight Ridder.

Apple’s iTunes Music Store is “great news for Mac users, who’ve been shut out of existing online music services such as MusicNet, Pressplay and Rhapsody, which use copy-protection software created by Microsoft that’s only available for Microsoft’s Windows operating system,” Langberg writes.

Langberg continues, “Jobs said only the Music Store is customer-friendly. Many Mac users undoubtedly will believe him, because they’ve never been able to try the other services and therefore won’t realize how little is actually new in Music Store.”

Mac users trapped in the Jobs Reality Distortion Field rejoice in your ignorant bliss!

Before complaining that modem connections result in slow download times, Langberg explains, “What’s different about the Music Store is that customers don’t have to pay a monthly subscription fee. The other online music services charge $5 to $18 a month for a bundle of features that might include ‘tethered downloads’ — tracks stored on your computer that can be played repeatedly, but only as long as you maintain your subscription. Also, purchased tracks can be burned only once. The Music Store is out front with unlimited burning and per-track purchasing without a monthly fee. On the other hand, I missed the streaming and tethered downloads. These are great ways to learn about new music, much superior to the free 30-second preview clips the Music Store provides.”

“Where Apple is stuck in a dead heat with competitors is the library of available music. Apple, like its major rivals, has licenses from all five major recording companies. Whatever the rivals offer will, with a few small exceptions, be what Apple’s Music Store offers,” Langberg predicts.

Langberg fails to mention that Apple, in a single week, has become the “become the largest online music company in the world,” according to Steve Jobs, selling over a million songs in under seven days. Would it be a stretch to imagine Apple securing exclusives that the other bit players cannot? Or are we just stuck in the RDF?

In one of the most misleadingly headlined articles we’ve ever seen, read Langberg’s attempt to downplay the iTMS’s advantages and equate streaming and tethered downloads with the iTunes Music Store’s unprecedented concept of letting users own and use the music they buy online here.

(update: corrected author’s first name, 5/13, 8:10pm)


  1. That Apple’s store sold a million tracks in the week following its April 28 launch apparently shocked record executives, who said they would have been satisfied with a million in a month.

  2. I have used other music services not only for Mac, but Windows too, and iTunes Music Store is worlds ahead of its competition. The author of this article is totally in the dark and hasn’t a clue as to what he is talking about. His minor differences sighted are in fact huge differences and once it is released for Windows will dwarf its competition even farther.

    I strongly recommend that the editor, overlooking this author’s work, think twice about letting his ignorance and spin slip from his bias lips again.

  3. Does this idiot think that Mac users are ignorant of what the Windoze world has to offer? Most of us have to suffer through some flavor of ‘doze in some form at work, which probably prompted many of us to “switch”. Besides, with VPC, I can run any version of ‘doze I care to and look at all of that clunky junk out there in Wintel land. I have not downloaded any music from the service for 2 reasons 1) 128bit AAC sucks (are you listening Steve?) and needs to be at least 192 and 2) I will not use credit cards on the internet until security improves to my satisfaction. However, the iTunes store is a great place to browse and get album art.

  4. I’m not even gonna bother e-mailing this ignoramus, because he’s obviously not going to understand/care.

    Maybe he’ll get it when iTunes comes out on PC

  5. You might want to read the original since this summary has the guy’s name wrong (It’s Mike not Mark), so he may have been misquoted.

    However, I saw it when it came out, and I thought it was a little harsh. He’s definitely not in the pocket of any manufacturer whose product he tries, and because of that readers generally trust him. Unless, of course, you already have a strong attachment to what he’s reviewing.

  6. ITMS isn’t available north of the border (yet). However, I think until they improve things I will continue to buy cd’s at my local music store. First, the ITMS cannot seem to keep up with the weekly Tuesday releases. For example, where is Blur’s Think Tank released last week ? I much prefer to be able to buy new music when it comes out, not when Apple chooses to sell it (if ever). Second, for my $12(US) I got a the special release CD “book” case, the extra 4 “bonus” tracks, and all in AIFF files. There is more to CD art than just an electronic version of the cover image !!!!
    I can rip as many copies on every mac I have and can burn songs countless times, without having to make any change. Let’s not even talk about the occasional enhanced discs and/or dvd’s that are being added into the package. And if my Powerbook dies, I still always have the original disc I bought. So, other than buying the occasional single song, I see advantage to buying music off ITMS once it comes to Canada.

  7. This guy trashes almost every new technology. He doesn’t have much vision about what a technology could be. He’s also not much of a MacIntosh fan.

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