Wow! It was a busy day at work…end of the term and lots of marking and adding and wrapping up. In my brief glance at Apple’s Web site this afternoon I saw that they launched the music store and updated iTunes to version 4. Even though I’m in Canada and we (along with the rest of the non-US world) can’t buy songs yet, it’s a pretty amazing leap. One of those Apple things that you look at and say, “Hey, that makes sense.” I can see me impulse-buying stuff as soon as it’s possible. There are still some gaps in the music that is available, but they’ve got a lot and the presentation is great. The staff picks are idiosyncratic and I suspect that they reflect the folks at Apple. It looks as if the whole thing was a massive task. Over 200,000 songs, tons of album art and a whack of encoding. The other neat features of iTunes 4 are sharing via Rendezvous and AAC encoding (higher quality at lower bitrates…just the same as encoding audio for DVDs).
A very cool feature for iTunes 5 or maybe 4.5 would be “Upload My Songs” to allow independent musicians to make their work available via the Music Store. Now that would be the next step, but would the record companies allow it? The video that Apple has (in the new “Music” button on Apple’s site that replaces the “Switch” button) introducing the store and new iPods has a rather smarmy tone about the music industry, so maybe it’s not too far-fetched. I love the new ads for the music store… they feature people singing as they listen to music on an iPod. A neat exercise in contrasts.