I don’t know about anybody else, but I’ve been really pleased with Apple’s ITunes Music Store – the selection is better than the stock any of my local record stores (and I live in Seattle, where the selection is pretty decent), the audio quality is good enough for my discerning listening (a musician and rabid music fan, but not an extreme audiophile by any means), and it’s worked flawlessly with my IMac so far.
It’s not perfect – like today I went looking for Magic Sam tunes and there weren’t any, and the Otis Rush selection awfully limited, but it keeps getting better. And I haven’t found a way to play the AAC format files on my Windows machines yet, which means I can’t take them with me on my laptop when I travel (guess that will be solved when ITunes for Windows makes it appearance). But I did find the ITunes plugin for my Rio S350 mp3 player, which appears to work well – the Rio just shows up as another playlist in ITunes.
And I do think the price is still too high – somewhere between a nickel and a quarter per tune seems more in line with my habits than a buck a tune…but I still find myself looking here first for music, and it tends to be cheaper than ordering even a used CD and paying shipping – plus you get (almost) instant gratification.
On the other hand, I’ve been reading bad reports so far of the first of the competition, Buy.com’s buy music. When I first visited, I clicked to the jazz section and got an error message – didn’t happen when I clicked Alternative, but hey – I mostly listen to jazz – not a good beginning.
Now when I visit using my platform and browser of choice (Safari on MacOS X) I get a few millisecond glimpse of the home page, then an error message saying “In order to take full advantage of BuyMusic.com’s offerings you must be on a Windows Operating System using Internet Explorer version 5.0 or higher.” Guess they don’t really want my business
I think it goes to show that execution is as important as offering and price – and that is one thing Apple appears to really understand.