Yeah baby! The rumours were mounting a while ago and this week the rumours started pumping harder - online music sales in Australia via Apple went live 25th October 2005. Sweet!
I realise that we already have online music sales via other companies but I will be damned if I am buying anything from BigPong/Telstra/MSN when I don't have to. I explored a couple crappy smaller online sales places but the range was really lacking.
The iTunes store was only up a couple hours before I bought the Green Day album "American Idiot" that I had "acquired" not long after its first release. You want to support artists but when the music isn't available, like sugarcult, there isn't much you can do but turn to the dark side. I also iTuned Ben Lee's "Awake is the new sleep". After listening to part of the ARIAs and sampling the whole album on iTunes I thought I'd give him a go. Frankly, I wish I hadn't. It is a typical album where only two tracks are excellent: "Catch my disease" and "The debt collectors", two are ok "Light" and "I'm willing" and all the rest are crap. My humble opinion, of course. With DRM I think I should have a right to claim my money back. So if you are thinking of downloading the complete album, don't until you have heard the complete album, the 30 second samples do not do any song justice. The best idea would be to "acquire"/borrow the album elsewhere, go to Borders or a good music store in town and you should be able to listen to the full thing, take notes, then go buy the music that you like. That's the last time I buy an album unheard.
Standford University release a 69 track bundle for free. 40 of which were complete crap, the rest of which were alright I guess, and only 4 were pod-worthy (I only have 2Gig so I filter very heavily what goes onto the pod). Still, 4 pod-worthy songs is pretty good for free. I recommend "Gone", "She's Gone", "Alive" and "A starfish in the front yard".
Some of my friends are saying they want older music. Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons, bah. But this music should really be available on iTunes. The trouble would be that at $1.69 a track, you're paying a little too much for old music. Old crappy music.
In fact, $1.69 a track is a little too much for music by any measure. Google around and you will see stories on the percentage that the original artist gets from sales. It aint good. Middle men still struggling to keep their fat butts expanding rather than actually producing something of their own.
Sony didn't want to play ball in Australia, but who gives a flying crap about Sony. Frankly keeping Sony music off iTunes is a benefit. Boycott Sony music. Better still, don't buy anything Sony. Ever. Poor quality junk with exceedingly heavy marketing to make you think it is ok. World's worst after sales support. Just don't buy Sony.
None of the videos seem to be up yet except for some junk from Disney. Let's hope that changes soon.
Something Apple needs to fix really quickly on the iTunes store is the pure music focus. They have podcasts and video which need different column headings from music ... "Song Title" doesn't make much sense for a tech podcast. Also changing your password for the store is quite an adventure. I can't even find where I set my default country to be Australia in the iTunes software. Who is testing Apple's software? Have they been on holiday for a year or two?! Cripes! If they hired me as a tester I would have things running slick (Apple: I want $100K/year and travel costs).
See, I still think the system is quite good, I just want it to be slick.
So people ... go CONSUME!