Using iTunes

One of the many things I was really looking forward to when ording my first Mac last month besides getting my hands on TextMate was to give iTunes a try as an alternative for buying CDs. Thanks to Sony’s policy in the whole XCP/Rootkit and MediaMax affair to treat customers like morons on the one hand and the way too high CD prices on the other made me look for alternative ways on how to legally get music from known artists. Please don’t get me wrong: I like indy music but most of the time I still like to listen to bands like NiN or Depeche Mode.

Well, iTunes comes with a quite nice variety of features starting with the Music Library to the Podcast aggregator and the iPOD management. All nice, but all of these (except perhaps the iPOD integration up to this degree) I can get with FOSS alone. My main interest was in the online store. Since I’m quite used to buy things online thanks to and it wasn’t really a large step to also give iTunes a try.

Well, since probably most of you reading this have already bought music on iTunes before (at least judging from my normal manor of simply being late in adapting trends) I won’t really get into detail one the whole “How to buy music from iTunes” thing and simply start end end with a summary: Simple, fast, cheap = Sweet. I will definetly get more music in the future from iTunes since everything seems to be offered there at a fair price. Today I bought one album and one separated song , something that is simply not possible if you try it in your record store. The minimum you can get is a MaxiCD which isn’t really an option for me. 4EUR for one song (+ normally 2 or 3 remixes) is a quarter of an album. Bad ratio. On iTunes you get every song for 0.99EUR and most of the albums for something between 6.90 and 9.90EUR. For example the album I bought (Andy Hunter’s current album “Life”) would be available on for 20EUR. Do the math and you will see that it’s more expensive for … well, the iTunes price doubled.

But iTunes also makes it easier to stay on the legal track if you just one single song from an album. For example: This summer I had the chance to get the current album of the austrian artist Christina Stürmer in Germany for 14EUR. Nice price IMO. Then I listened to it in the store and … put it back. I couldn’t stand a single song except for the one that made me look into this album in the first place: the song “Ich lebe”. Well, so I had to live without this song to. Now I simply wanted to use this song as some kind of test song for iTunes. Buying a single song is perhaps way too easy now ;) Perhaps I should send a warning to my CC company and issue a micro-payment warning g

It’s just too bad that you can’t get everything on iTunes. For example, I was looking for “B-Side wins again” by Dave DJ Spooky and Lombardo. The moment this song would make it on iTunes I would get it. But so I would have to get it on a MaxiCD: No. So I will have to with switching on my PS2, insert SSX on tour and listening to it only when my TV is turned on :S

During the last couple of weeks I also started listening to some podcasts, esp. “The HotSpot” by the Gamespot crew. On Linux I was more or less using RSS readers or Odeo for managing podcasts. On my new Mac I also started looking into dedicated apps like Juicer and now also iTunes. While Juicer is really nice it simply has no directory service in the background for getting to know new podcasts. Since Gamespot seems no longer to have a separated RSS feed for their podcast, Juicer didn’t noticed the release of the new HotSpot episode … and neither did I because of that. I just remembered that they normally release it every Wednesday so I - just for fun - looked on iTunes for it, found it, subscribed and got it. That’s the way it is supposed to be. The only thing I’m still missing is some Growl integration for example and esp. for letting me know when there’s something new available. Sure, I could use a normal RSS reader for that but it would be more fun through iTunes IMO ;)