Tale of two online music stores

I’ve been known to buy music from iTunes Music Store. What’s that, you say? Why buy from iTMS when the Russian sites offer the same tunes for a fraction of the price? In part, I like the pay-for-what-you-buy mode better than the give-us-a-bunch-of-money-upfront-and-then-we’ll-debit-per-track mode. Something is just a tad slimy about that. Even so, there’s really only one reason I buy from iTMS and that is JHymn, the program that immediately and easily allows me to rip the crappy digital rights management out of the files. If I bought it I want to be able to play it whenever, wherever, and on as many machines as I damn well please.

But this isn’t an iTunes screed. I’d like to make a simple comparison between iTMS and the other music store I use a lot, Bleep.com.

      iTunes Music Store Bleep.com
unencrypted music     no yes
web-based     no yes
playable on all devices     no yes
full song preview     no yes
zipped download of multiple files     no yes
reviewer bias in comparison     yes yes

I’m not sure these factors matter to the average online music buyer, but I wonder how long iTMS can stay dominant. Sooner or later the casual music buyer will figure out the problems in the iTMS model. In fact, I know a few people who just want to make mixes for their friends — for instance, as party favors — and have no idea why they can’t do so with their iTMS-restricted files. Something’s gotta give.

OK, maybe it was an iTMS screed.

One response to “Tale of two online music stores”

  1. Killworth says :

    Never used ihymn but dBpoweramp changes tracks bought on ITMS to unrestricted mp3s very nicely.