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Wahey at last Apple has got its finger out its ass and opened up its thrilling music store in Britain. Well thats what i thought when i first found out. The truth is a bit different though. Apple has been advertising its online store for ages (well to those who have an ipod anyway). As the perfect way to download & BUY (note the emphasis with caps) music. And as a relative beginner to the online music scene, I could barely wait. I truly couldn't be more dissapointed.
**Site Layout** Putting it bluntly, the site is dull and boring, especially compared to its cheif competitors, MyCoke Music, Wanadoo music and Napster. The latter are bright and colourful, Itunes is plain, even the colour scheme invokes boredom pale blue on pale blue with the odd splashing of white and grey. Although asthetics don't really matter, the main question is does it work? Well Yes but thats because there isnt alot for it to do, all it really is is a glorified music search engine, with a few "celebrity playlists". Most people will go straight for the search button, but there are a few other options, such as you can watch music videos, of which there are 25!! not exactly something to go shouting from the roof tops. And you can view imixes which are basically playlists posted by peeps. Are you getting Excited yet?
**CONTENT** Itunes claims to have over 700,000 tracks available. Well done to them, as Napster has in the realms of 500,000 and Coke and Wanadoo have a mere 250,000 and no i can't be arsed to count them, so i'll trust them for the time being. According to the Apple press office these gems were obtained from BMG, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group, and all other major record labels (Fascinating!) There's a wide variety as well, including pop, jazz, RnB, Reggae, Rock, even classical i believe. So it should suit all tastes. Therefor this weekend I thought I'd give it a whirl and download LEGALLY for the first time, for this I chose Keane's "Hopes And Fears" Album. And I looked it up in the biggest selection of legal music on the web, and it wasn't fecking there. 700,000 tracks and they don't have what i want. So I payed a quick visit to Kazaa for that one. The site does differ in content to the US version not just the currency but you can clearly see the difference in the main tracks they have listed, tracks only found in the UK such as The streets and Lemar.
**COST** Prepare for a rant folks! At iTunes each track is sold seperately for 79p, so you can choose just a couple of tracks from an album, like all the other sites, but here you have to buy each track of the album seperately, which is kinda time consuming. But also the album will cost 79p x no. tracks so for Keane's twelve track album (if they actually had it!) would be £9.48. Bearing in mind 12 tracks is normally down the bottom end of the scale. With most albums containing 15-17 tracks. On its rivals sites, guess what they HAVE it!! This same album would cost £7.99 on Coke and Wanadoo. and £9.95 flat rate on all albums at Napster. Although i admit the individual track prices are more exspensive 99p and £1.09 respectively. £1.49 is quite a big difference in price.
Not only are they more expensive than their competitors, they are also screwing us Brits. In the USA a track of the same site would cost you 99cents, here it is 79p. With the current rate of exchange at 1.8132 (may change but 1.8 is about right over the year) for our 79p they are getting $1.43. So they are making 44cents extra profit out of us because we are British. Thats a mark up of 44% or in English money the tracks should cost us 55p. Think about it the technology is no different, the product is no different. There is no extra cost as the itunes system is downloaded from a US website. So they are just screwing us (although iTunes is not the only one) and then they expect us to stop downloading illegal music, to use there overpriced service. Oh btw my local record shop is cheper then itunes as well £8.99 the album. So much for the benefits of online buying.
Ok rant over, but you can see where I am coming from. Basically as far as this site is concerned it could do alot better. As its alot cheaper, less hassle and more fun to go browse the local record shop in town for music than use this service.
I am yet to bring myself to hand over any more of my hard earned money to Apple's grubby mits, so If anyone who has downloaded music from itunes could comment then i would be very grateful