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New web-based portal to iTunes Music Store launches

SiteLink Network recently launched “Tune-Watch”, an advanced web portal to the iTunes Music Store, implementing an easy-to-use interface that allows users to browse the Store’s latest additions, new releases, and top songs and albums without actually launching Apple’s iTunes software. Tune-Watch also provides direct links to the Store through iTunes for purchase or more detailed browsing.

iTunes Case Study released

“The Digital Media Project’s Green Paper, iTunes: How Copyright, Contract, and Technology Shape the Business of Digital Media, provides an in-depth look at this service from the perspective of comparative law. Members of the Digital Media Team examined different legal and regulatory regimes from a range of countries to deterimine how iTunes and services like it are likely to fare under different sets of norms. The Case Study has focused on four important regulatory issues:

Interaction between Copyright and Contract Law
Digital Rights Management
Digital First Sale Doctrine
Fair Use Doctrine”

HP to ship preinstalled iTunes PCs end of March

MacRumors is reporting that “according to the meta-description embedded in the HP Music Site, HP should start shipping iTunes pre-installed HPs by the end of this month.”

“‘The [iTunes] icon will start shipping pre-loaded on Pavilion and Presario computers in late March and these pages will be the first landing site directed towards HP.com/music.’”

iTunes Music Store sells over 50 million songs

“Apple today announced that music fans have purchased and downloaded over 50 million songs from Apple’s iTunes Music Store, not including songs redeemed from the currently-running Pepsi iTunes promotion. The 50 millionth song, purchased last Thursday afternoon, was “The Path of Thorns” by Sarah McLachlan. iTunes users are now downloading 2.5 million songs per week, which is an annual run rate of 130 million songs per year.

‘Crossing 50 million songs is a major milestone for iTunes and the emerging digital music era,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With over 50 million songs already downloaded and an additional 2.5 million songs being downloaded every week, it’s increasingly difficult to imagine others ever catching up with iTunes.’”

How the iPod Selection playlist makes its choices

On www.macilife.com, Macworld columnist and iLife book author Jim Heid describes the five-step process used by the iPod Selection playlist. This playlist debuted in iTunes 4.2 and is designed to automate the process of copying music to an iPod that doesn’t have enough space to hold your music library. But what criteria does it use to choose music? Heid found out, and he describes his findings on his site.

HP launches iTunes website

HP has launched its own HP Music website to promote iTunes and the iTunes Music Store. “HP and Apple have partnered to bring the award-winning iTunes music jukebox software onto your PC and into your digital world,” reads a section of the new site. “Now you can enjoy the revolutionary digital music experience that’s changing the way the world listens, all in the comfort of a Windows-based environment.” Clicking the “Download iTunes” link takes you to a new Apple.com web page to downoad iTunes for HP and Compaq customers. “Available for Windows XP, and Windows 2000, iTunes 4.2 allows you to sign in and buy music from the iTunes Music Store with your AOL or Apple Account.”

What do you want in iTunes

In a recent poll, Macworld UK readers were asked what features should be added to iTunes.

“The most popular choice was a means of automatically identifying and deleting duplicated songs (26 per cent). One reader suggested Apple could add a “flag duplicates” option.

Close behind (21 per cent) was the ability to mix tracks like a DJ – offering iTunes users the opportunity to create professional-sounding party playlists. One reader said: ‘It would be good to incorporate some sort of DJ mixing facility and beat matching. iPods are already being adopted by DJs, and this would further raise the Apple profile in that area.’”

Napster CEO slams iTunes, AAC

“‘Napster is a Windows Media Audio house designed around that digital rights management,’ Gorog [Napster CEO] says. ‘We are a believer in the technology and we believe it’s going to be, and basically is, the ubiquitous platform. Companies pushing a propriety agenda are consumer-unfriendly experiences because they’re cloistering them in an experience that they can’t leave and eliminating choice.’

Gorog believes pressure from iPod owners will force Apple to reconsider its stance: ‘The iPod is great if you’re happy to only shop at one record store. It’s like buying a car and finding you can only drive down one road. I think consumers, when they understand that, will be kind of pissed off,’ he says.”

iTunes Pepsi bottles coming to Los Angeles

“Specially marked bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist offer free download codes in bottle caps. But they arrived in New York last week, four weeks after 90 million viewers saw the Super Bowl ad. The bottles have yet to show up in Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest media market, and won’t get there until mid-March, Pepsi says.

‘You can’t spike sales in February if the bottles aren’t there,’ says Charles Wolf, an analyst with Wall Street research firm Needham & Co. ‘My guess is there’s going to be a sales increase, but a month later than expected.’”

iTunes Pepsi Winning Cap Giveaway

“After many days worth of collecting caps, with the help of several wonderful people, we will be giving away more than 40 Pepsi winning cap codes - all posted at the same time. Make sure you’re free on Thursday, March 4th at 7 pm Central time. First come, first served. There are no strings attached to this giveaway. The only thing required is an iTunes account so you can redeem the codes. If you don’t have your account yet, get it before the giveaway opens.”

iTunes tops AAC listening tests

“Over the past two weeks, a second round of AAC listening tests was carried out across five different AAC codecs at Rarewares.  This test has been carried out due to significant quality improvement across most the codecs.  The AAC codecs tested were Nero AACenc v.2.6.2.0, Compact! 1.2beta3, FAAC 1.23.5 (all three in 128kbps VBR), Apple iTunes 4.2 and Real Producer 10 beta (both in 128kbps CBR).  The test closed on February 29th.

In 12 songs tested, iTunes had the best score on average with Nero close behind.  The remaining three are closely tied in second place (or third place if Nero is considered second place).  The scores did not vary as much as in the original AAC listening test which means that any recent AAC codec will produce a good quality encoding.”

HP dumped Napster for iTunes

“It was a breakthrough deal that would have put the Napster kitty on millions of Hewlett-Packard computers.

But in the days leading up to Napster’s re-launch in late October, HP suddenly—and without explanation—returned Napster’s $250,000 check and canceled the agreement to install a link to Napster’s online music service on its computers. Worse, in January HP announced a surprise partnership with Napster rival Apple Computer to feature the iTunes Music store on HP computers and sell Hewlett-Packard branded iPod music players.”

iTMS adds ‘Tell a Friend’ feature

The iTunes Music Store now features a “Tell a Friend” link for sharing with others. Simply click the link, fill out the form and tell a friend about your new discovery. “‘Tell a Friend’ links let you send email (that includes an album cover and a link back to the iTunes Music Store) to all your friends. You can even include a personal message. Try it today.”

Pepsi iTunes Music Giveaway: How to cheat and win

MacMerc has posted instructions, photos and a diagram on how to “spy” the inside of specially marked bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist to make sure it has a winning code. “The secret is the angle. I’ve found it to be 25 degrees, but that’s really no use when you’re out in the field. Just tilt it until it seems about that, and look up towards it (hold it above your head). With luck, you should be able to see under the cap.”

iTunes Music Store offers prepaid card redemption

picIn a recent news story we mentioned that Target will have gift (prepaid) cards available starting this Sunday, February 15. Readers have commented that some Target stores are already selling them, and we suspect that other department stores will offer them as well. Apple has updated the iTunes Music Store with a new section to redeem prepaid cards and Terms & Conditions. Prepaid cards expire two years from date of issuance with exceptions in some states. Redemption codes appear on the back of prepaid cards. iTunes 4 (free download) or later and an iTunes Music Store account is required.

Apple and Target team up with iTunes gift cards

picOne of our readers has submitted evidence of a new partnership between Apple and Target stores, resulting in $15 Gift Cards to purchase music from the iTunes Music Store. The new promotion is expected to start on Sunday, February 15.

More disdain for Pepsi iTunes ad

The Register UK has received open letters to Apple from its readers in disgust with the Pepsi iTunes Music Giveaway ads featuring several RIAA sued teenagers. One of the letters read, “I was planning on purchasing a new Ibook, it would have been my 5th Mac. Tell Steve he can take this “Jobs” and shove it. Putting that obnoxious Pepsi ad on the website was not a good decision. – Jack Del Croix” Another letter read, “The only thing you have to do to be in the front of the NEXT revolution is lose Pepsi and the RIAA. It is a brutal irony to me that you chose the 20th anniversary of the most famous Superbowl ad of all to totally reverse your own image, team up with big brother, and most indefensible of all, participate in the exploitation of underaged alleged “criminals” in a literal public stoning. Shame on you!”

Mac: Connect iPod, iTunes crashes in OS X 10.3

MacFixit reports a problem and solution regarding iTunes 4.2. “We previously reported an issue where iTunes 4.2 crashes shortly after connecting an iPod (under Mac OS X 10.3.x) The crash generally results both in the iPod not getting updated and a force-quit required for iTunes. Some users have had success disconnecting all other external peripherals - particularly FireWire devices other than the iPod (and USB components), but for others the problem persists under the same conditions. Reverting to Mac OS X 10.2.x also alleviates the problem.”

Magnatune music download service dances to a different tune

“Magnatune is a record label, but don’t let that make you wince; as the company’s motto says, they are not evil, and they mean it. Take a look in the ‘Information’ menu on the Magnatune site and browse the essay on why Magnatune owner John Buckman created the site, and check out his business model and other topics of interest. Once you’re done reading, go check out some of the music.

Again, what you’ll find is something completely different: The music is unique and high quality. The Magnatune business model is similar to shareware, and artists get 50% of the proceeds from each sale from the company’s Web site. While its library of music is relatively small, it contains such a uniquely eclectic collection of albums and artists that nearly everyone is bound to find something he or she likes.”

iTMS: Get your 99 cent song of silence

“Among the hundreds of thousands of downloadable songs for sale at Apple Computer’s online music store are at least nine tracks of silence, a fact that has prompted quite a bit of discussion. The chatter over the inaudible music tracks began this week at Mac enthusiast site As The Apple Turns.

As the site notes, Apple treats the silent songs just like their more musical counterparts. The silent tracks sell for the same 99 cents as other songs, feature free 30-second “previews” and are all wrapped in Apple’s usual digital-rights management software to prevent unauthorized copying.”

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