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ITunes Music Store

The iTunes Music Store is a paid online music service run by Apple Computer, introduced on April 28, 2003 with iTunes 4.

The store is the result of a deal with all five major record labels, BMG Music[?], EMI, Sony Music, Universal and Warner Bros.. It offers more than 200,000 songs, including exclusive tracks from more than 20 artists such as Bob Dylan, U2, Eminem, Sheryl Crow and Sting. Each song can be downloaded for 99 cents and comes with a 30 second preview. Most albums are priced at 9.99 dollars. The user can burn songs to compact disc after download.

Songs are encoded by Dolby[?]'s Advanced Audio Codec, which is part of the MPEG-4 standard and QuickTime 6 and is usually considered superior to MP3 in terms of 128 kbps encoding quality.

As of April 2003, only Mac users who have credit cards with a U.S. billing address can buy songs with the service, but Steve Jobs announced plans to support both Windows and international users.

Fans and some executives in the music industry say that the Music Store has more attractive characterstics than previous services such as Rhapsody[?] and MusicNet[?]: it allows the user to legally download an unlimited number of songs and transfer them to the iPod, and is comparatively simple and easy to use because it is closely integrated into the iPod and iTunes product lines.

Seamless, subtle digital rights management (DRM) is integrated into iTunes, which manages songs purchased from iTunes Music Store. To convert protected files to MP3-format files, the user must burn them on an audio CD and then rip the CD back to iTunes using the MP3 encoder, resulting in slight loss of quality.

The store sold about 275,000 tracks in its first 18 hours and more than 1,000,000 tracks in its first week.

External Links

See also: Napster, KaZaA

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