Mac Music Store Review

Apple released iTunes v4 yesterday along with a totally redesigned iPod and the much anticipated Mac Music Store. Today I’ve spent about an hour playing with the new service and all I have to say is “Damn”.

To fully appreciate the MMS one should purchase a .Mac account, which I don’t have. Having the .Mac account enables you to share your purchased music on up to three computers without having to carry your iPod or any CDR’s. iTunes v4 introduces Rendevous enabled playlists, meaning you can stream your playlists to other macs on your network (more on this after the girlfriend brings over her iBook).

Apple has really hit the nail on the head with the store. The albums are, on the average, $3 to $5 cheapter than they are in the store (I’ve only found 2 priced over 9.99). The tracks are priced decently at $0.99. I think a better price would have been more in the $.50 to $.70 range, but I can’t complain too much since a single with one good song and two crappy songs costs about the same as I can get three good songs at MMS.

I’m sure more than one of you is thinking: Why not just use limewire and “download” the music for free of the net? Well, I have a few arguments against that.

  • It’s stealing. Say all you want, but you’re stealing the hard work of others. Sure I could put the candy bar in my pocket, but why? It’s only $.99 (and at least you can enjoy the MP3 more than once, unlike the candy bar)
  • Outstanding sound quality. MMS rips tracks using the AAC format, which reportedly sports both smaller file size and better sound quality of MP3 . If you plan on enjoying your music on CD this is important.
  • Faster and more reliable downloads. Tired of downloading from little Tommy at 3kb/sec? Tired of getting half a song only to have the person logoff? Needless to say, I’d pay $.99 a song rather than battle with crappy and unreliable downloads. My time is worth more than that.

Overall my impression of the Mac Music Store is good. I have only one small complaint: it doesn’t have sub categories in genres. I’m sure once I purchase an iPod and finally get a .Mac subscription I’ll be singing more praise.

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