Fortune rates nine legit online music services, says Apple iTunes ‘best’

“Besides Apple’s store, which controls some 70% of all single-song downloads, there are BuyMusic, eMusic, MusicMatch, MusicNow, RealPlayer, Rhapsody, Napster, and even a service from Wal-Mart. Computer companies, online service providers, and consumer electronics stores are joining the chorus; in coming months we’ll also see online music services from big-name headliners Microsoft, Amazon, and Sony,” Peter Lewis writes for Fortune. Lewis takes a look at nine legit online music services and compares their pros and cons.

“In these pages we’ve considered only Windows-based download services. All but two of the services listed in the table sell songs in Windows Media Audio (WMA) format, which the Apple iPod can’t stomach but which plays well on dozens of other devices,” Lewis writes.

Lewis writes, “If you’re new to online music, this is the place to start. It’s based on the Windows version of Apple’s iTunes software, which tightly integrates a media-player program (iTunes), a download service (the music store), and a portable player (the iPod), resulting in unparalleled ease of use. The software is free and there are no subscription fees. The catalog of more than 500,000 songs is among the largest of all legal services. Apple’s search functions are best-in-class, making it easy to find the music you seek, assuming it’s available. Any song you buy can be burned to a CD an unlimited number of times; unchanged playlists can be burned to a disc up to ten times. You can transfer songs for playback on as many as three computers, and to your iPod as many times as you want.”

Lewsi writes, “Nice features include celebrity playlists (what’s Sting listening to now?), iTunes Essentials (the best make-out songs, for example), Billboard charts from several decades, prepaid cards and allowance accounts, gift certificates, and


  1. Time Inc. (Publishers of Fortune) are very pro-Apple. Nevertheless, iTMS does rank at the top alone or tied in some other reviews. As far as when it arrives in Europe I’d suspect by the summer. Since Europeans speak different languages I’d think Apple will have to make separate sites for each country as they do the Apple Store. Also artist royalties, publisher royalites and taxes on recordings are different in each country. It’s a real mess. (It doesn’t look like France will be on the list because of the current pending lawsuits against Apple).

  2. Halfy: iTunes will come to Europeans when Eurpoeans such as yourself grow a pair and force your labels and royalty collection organzations to make a continent-wide deal and get out of the f-ing way.

    Blaming Apple because your companies are run by a bunch of recalcitrant ‘tards is just stupid.

    Don’t worry though–iTunes will be deployed in Europe well before the French develop spines or the British obtain adequate dental care.

  3. You are a fuckwit Opinionated Jerk. Just another reason why the rest of the world fucking hate Americans. Take your superiority complex and ram it up your backside sideways.

    Halfy was only stating that he would like to use the iTMS service. No need to slam him or the rest of us. Take some more prozac redneck.

  4. OJ:

    I do so love it when Americans lecture Europeans on bravery, and it seems so easy to do when you join all the major wars at least two years later than everyone else, and the only wars you ever start are against enemies who have no answer to your military technology.

    But then again, maybe some of that technological superiority would be better deployed if your pilots learned how to identify your allies on the battlefield.

    As for ‘forcing our labels’, the majority of music is controlled by American parents (Universal, Warner, Sony) with one (Sony) ultimately controlled by a Japanese corporation.

    So not only are you an obnoxious asshole, you’re also an ignorant obnoxious asshole.

  5. Back on subject. I still think that at sometime Apple should license out fairplay to other players to lock in AAC/Fairplay as the de facto standard. The timing is important though. I would not do it yet as Apple’s hard work and leadership should be capitalized on for a bit yet to reap the profits they deserve. We don’t want to see a repeat of the the isolation of Apple we have seen before tho.

  6. Next time you Europussies are about to kill yourselves off with the next homegrown dictator nutjob, we’ll be there to save your sorry, underbathed asses once again. As usual.

  7. Yeah, if the Euros weren’t starting wars and getting invaded by other Euros, then I guess we wouldn’t have needed to flex our muscles way back when. As for now, the US is the defacto be-all, end-all. You Euros listen to our music, our movies, and take to our culture and you smile when you see our flag cuz you all know when the sh*t hits the fan there’ll be a Yank bailing your asses out of another one. Smoke me for free you has-beens. Grow some sac and stand up for what is right every now and then.

  8. The Jerk may have been way out of line with his rhetoric, but I think his point gets to a valid gripe. That Apple is not to blame for the delay in Europe, Europe is. Not in a derogatory way, just that the various laws cannot accommodate the rights issues that a legal download service brings.

    I think Apple is saying that to put the effort forth to get in line with all the European laws (let’s not even discuss France) in a time frame that it was able to do in the US, it would cost too much. There is not enough margin in selling these songs.

    Ultimately, if the laws are in the way, it’s up to the consumers to force change in order to get this thing moving. Just another example of how European governments think they can have it all without giving up something.

    MCCFR: Call me an arrogant American if you like, but if it weren’t for US, … well, ‘nuf said.


  9. And GI Joe will lead the charge after the F16s and 155s have levelled the place and turned the cities into talcum powder. And opinionated jerk will be one of the first to kiss an american when he gets a handful of chocolate.

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