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 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.”
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
“‘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.”
“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.’”
“Over the past two weeks, a second round of AAC listening tests was carried out across five different AAC codecs at Rarewares.
“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.”
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.”
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.”
In 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.
One 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.
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.
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 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.”
“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.”
“The backlash has started. Having enjoyed a free ride from the media and from users since its inception last year, Apple’s iTunes Music Store is beginning to attract serious criticism.
There have been mutterings of opposition before, concerned with both the price of downloads and the quality, but the ongoing success of the store has largely silenced those. However when a website as widely read as The Register describes the latest iTunes TV advertisement as ‘shameful’, Apple should start to listen.”
USAToday published the ‘16th Annual Ad Meter’ ranking yesterday’s SuperBowl commercials. The Pepsi+iTunes giveaway ad is near the bottom of the list with a 5.90 out of 10.
Announcing art4iTunes.com - a website that generates album covers and track listings from your iTunes song list. The album cover can be dropped back into iTunes and displayed whenever the track is played. Artwork can be from US or UK album covers. Have a look and let me know what you think - there’s a demo button to see what it does before uploading your own song list.
Apple has posted several sizes of the Pepsi+iTunes commercial scheduled to air during today’s Super Bowl game.