Written on: 22/11/2005 by chrisw357
Awesome popular music selection*, charge-per-song... no subscription fees, easy to use software interface (Mac & Win), AAC formatted songs will play on any iTunes-supported computer.
*iTunes now boasts over 2 million songs
Same AAC format is not compatible with most digital music players, and has DRM limitations (albeit generous rights extended to purchaser), lesser-known acts not updated with newer selections.
iTunes has come a long way since it's inception several years ago. Apple has been successful in getting scores of lesser-known artists to join their catalog of over 2 million songs. For instance, a year ago you would never have found Goth-Industrial or European Power Metal in the iTMS selection. Now music genres like this and others are rapidly gaining a foothold in Apple's library. What is hoped for now is that they can soon update and expand on the lesser-known's library; when new albums come out, iTMS is rather slow in acquiring the selections for download.
With all of the subscription-based services out there, it's refreshing to have a service that only charges per song or per album, at the time of download. When you enter a subscription contract, the songs can only be used on the computer as long as your account is in good standing, unless you burn them into CD format. Stop paying, and all the song files you downloaded are worthless. Not so with iTMS. The DRM encoded into the AAC files gives a very generous user licence for multiple burn sessions and multiple computer use. PLEASE note that this DRM is not embedded in the user's computer and DOES NOT AFFECT THE USER'S COMPUTER IN ANY WAY... it's only located in the music files. That being said, users will have no trouble with the files. However, the AAC format that iTMS uses is supported by very few MP3 players. To date, only the Apple iPod (and maybe one or two other players) can play AAC files. Converting to MP3 format involves burning the AAC files to CD format, then ripping the CD back into the computer as MP3 format. A bit of a chore, but it works.
The iTMS interface is a joy to use. First-time users will have no problem finding the music they want. It's Macintosh AND Windows compatible, so the two major camps are satisfied here. For the record, this reviewer has been an Apple Mac user for several years now and owns two iPods. Even though there may be small limitations for Windows users who don't own a iPod, I'd still heartily recommend this service to anyone.