Obligatory iTunes Post

As you are no doubt well aware, iTunes for Windows has been downloadable for a couple hours. Blah blah blah Windows users getting what Mac users have had for years blah blah blah wait until they see iPhoto blah blah blah.
What’s interesting to me is the reaction. It seems that most Windows users equate iTunes with the iTunes Music Store. This makes for uninformed discussions, which must be a first for the Internet.
A lot of Windows users are missing the fact that iTunes is an excellent audio library tool. It’s a music ripper and organizer with a built in mp3 sharing program (via Rendezvous). Any music fan should go gaga over Smart Playlists.
I’ve used Winamp, Windows Media Player, XMMS, mpg123 and a few other mp3 players that I’ve long since forgotten. Never before have I created playlists or kept my mp3s organized because none of those tools makes it as effortless as iTunes.
The iTunes Music Store (which still doesn’t have a resale function) is only part of iTunes. It’s one of the two reason why Apple is spending money developing iTunes for Windows (the other being the iPod), but it’s only one piece of the puzzle.

10 thoughts on “Obligatory iTunes Post

  1. I downloaded this as soon as I could. I was a bit dissapointed at the small selection that the iTunes store has. I liked the play list features and sorting and etc, but Winamp v3 has all of the same features, and uses fewer resources. Without the iTunes store being up to par I don’t think it will go much further than being a “pretty” mp3 player.

  2. My other big complaint with the iTunes music store is that they have a visible (but low) barrier to entry. If they accepted any artist (a la mp3.com) they would take a huge chunk out of the RIAA’s distribution cartel. As it stands only invited labels can post music, but luckily in the past few months more indie labels have appeared on the store.
    I think that it does do more than just being a “pretty” mp3 player though. Not that there’s anything wrong with being pretty, even Slashdot admits that style matters (and their users/pretty ratio approaches infinity). Winamp 3 has a similar library function, but last time I used it, it just didn’t “feel” right. You couldn’t dynamically change the columns visible, you couldn’t make Smart Playlists (check those out if you haven’t), there’s a lot of you couldn’ts.
    Even if you prefer Winamp3 for playing and organizing, it doesn’t rip. It doesn’t burn (I assume that iTunes for Windows burns, although I haven’t asked anyone running it yet). It doesn’t let you share your songs and playlists with other computers on your network. It seems like there are a lot of it doesn’ts too.
    This is also a godsend for anyone on Windows with an iPod, from what I hear MusicMatch is teh suck.
    Of course, none of that matters if it doesn’t match your usage. If you download your mp3s (instead of ripping them), and you listen to them on a Nomad, and you don’t worry about playlist management, then you should probably use Winamp3. From what I hear it does use fewer resources, and you don’t have to learn a new interface. So definitely use what works for you.

  3. Don’t get me wrong, iTunes has a beautiful interface. I stuck with it for that reason alone. I will try ripping/burning a cd with it and let you know how that goes. I haven’t tried the music sharing features yet, but 90% of the time I can’t find what I want on Kazza or WinMX, though I’m not sure how extensive the iTunes sharing is. The performance issue isn’t a big one, unless I get 10 things going at once. I’m contemplating getting a Powerbook but I hate buying something I haven’t seen inside out. If I get the Powerbook(with an iPod) I’m sure I’ll be using iTunes for everything. I just need to find someone who will let me destroy their OS X install while I play with it.

  4. The music sharing isn’t what you’re thinking. You can play music from any iTunes library running on your LAN. For example, when a coworker fired up iTunes for Windows, he saw the complete libraries of both me and my other mac-using coworker. He can’t copy, burn or iPod the songs (without a utility like iLeech) but it’ll stream it to him while he’s on the network.
    As for seeing a Powerbook inside-out, check out these pictures 🙂 If you go to an Apple Store/CompUSA you can actually see a lot of the hardware if you remove the keyboard (pull the tabs next to esc and F12) and they usually leave /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app so you can try the Unix stuff out.
    I like OS X (and hate OS 9) because it’s the one platform that will let me run my Unixy stuff as well as Microsoft Office (and other commercial apps) with minimal hassle. The rest of the cool stuff is just icing on the cake. If that’s something that interests you (and WiFi range isn’t of utmost concern) you would do well to try out a powerbook.

  5. For what it’s worth, any independent musician can get on iTMS if they sell their music through CDBaby. They charge something like a $30 one-time ripping/encoding fee, and then give the musicians a pretty sizable chunk of the 60% cut which CDBaby gets.
    Though that’s not really a useful option for me, since I make all of my music freely-downloadable (for anyone who’s smart enough to figure the URLs out, anyway) and basically just offer the physical CD as an artifact for people who like that sort of thing.

  6. I just downloaded iTunes this weekend (I know, I know, I should have a mac, but they aren’t free, and I was just given this new Dell desktop. I tried to trade it for a powerbook, but people kept saying something about out of their ‘Cold dead hands…’)
    So anyways it’s a great mp3 players, I scrapped winamp 3 within a day of using it. Smart playlist are a godsend, as is the music rating system. I like a song alog, I snap a few stars on it, and I can make a smart playlist. Don’t even get me started about rendezvous. I have three computers that run windows in the house, and it’s like no matter where I am, I can have my servers’ playlists now, instantly. I was just waiting to wade though complicated setup, have to troubleshoot a few bugs, but no, it just worked. I’ve been waiting for that feature for years. I have to get an Ipod also. I have to save up, because I want to buy retail so I can purchase a extended warranty so I can return it repeatadly after I destroy the drive crashing & burning while snowboarding.
    Now if I could remote control one iTunes player from another, it would be perfect, because I have a good set of speakers downstairs, but the laptop hangs out in the loft upstairs, and it would be cool to change music without going downstairs. I use VNC, but it would be cool to have remote control in the app.

  7. I would love to, LOL, but I don’t think my credit card is insured for that type of jackassery: $673.69 (From current euro conversion).
    I know a lot of people that just run the iPod remote down their sleeve, and into a mitten, so they can use it by feel.
    BTW, I noticed you have Micheal Moore is on upcoming.org events. Are you going/have tickets?

  8. “….any independent musician can get on iTMS if they sell their music through CDBaby. They charge something like a $30 one-time ripping/encoding fee, and then give the musicians a pretty sizable chunk of the 60% cut which CDBaby gets…..”
    Yes CDBaby’s digital distribution service for their artists is incredible, what’s more they’ve now decided to waive the 40 dollar fee, so now the service to get on itunes is free.
    My favorite feature of itunes is the individual song purchase feature. So many albums today have one or two good tracks the rest just filler. Purchasing individual songs is a great way to weed out the mediocrity, thanks to itunes you no longer have to shell out 18 dollars for a 15 songs album just to hear the one or two good tracks.
    Regards, Fujitsu Kyoko

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