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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict? Site News
Given that the iTunes Music Store recently celebrated its third anniversary (April 28, 2003 launch date), I've posted a new poll to find out just how often we all purchase from the store. I realize that the store isn't available in all countries, and that it hasn't been available anywhere other than the USA for the full three years, but I still thought it might be interesting to see just how much music we've all been buying.

If you say "I don't know; I deleted the Apple-provided Purchased Song playlist," well, you can use this hint to create a new one. It's just a Smart Playlist that will show all your purchase activity (based on matching Protected AAC songs). That's why I left "I don't know" off the poll as a valid response.

And if you happen to be off the top of the charts, and feel like sharing, feel free to add your actual unit purchase quantity in the comments. I admit to a strange curiosity about who may be the "most addicted purchaser" amongst the community. I'm pretty sure it's not me, with 454 songs in three years (which is about seven CDs a year, which is roughly how often I used to buy actual CDs).

-rob.
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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict? | 28 comments | Create New Account
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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: sdewidt on May 09, '06 05:23:17PM

I've bought ~600 songs from the iTMS. Recently though, I've had some concerns about the ability to play my music in the future. I know I could just burn my music to CD and then re-rip them to a DRM-free format, but some quality is lost in the process. So I've decided to go back to buying CDs more frequently since they are only a few dollars more and I get the actual disc with which I can do basically whatever I want.

In the past I bought a lot of music from allofmp3, but my bank (Wells Fargo) put an end to that. I received a new Visa check card in the mail from them one day with a letter stating that they had seen some 'unusual' activity on my card, and that as part of their early fraud detection program, they were assigning me a new card number. They also will not verify my card anymore on the site. I guess I could get some other card, but I don't know if it's worth the hassle. Too bad allofmp3 doesn't use paypal anymore; that would be sweet.



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allofmp3 for me
Authored by: escowles on May 09, '06 05:33:02PM

I haven't had any problems with allofmp3.com. I definitely prefer MP3 to AAC, since it works with all my computers/devices, not just my Mac/iPod. And you really can't beat the price (assuming you value your time enough that you don't want to spend time searching for stuff on p2p).

The DRM is the thing that drove me away from iTMS. I felt pretty ambivalent about it, but since the DRM was cracked and could be removed with JHymn, it was mostly an academic consideration. But the v6 DRM isn't cracked (yet). I definitely won't buy from iTMS unless I know I can remove the DRM, so it's allofmp3.com for me for the time being.

-Esme



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: frgough on May 10, '06 08:32:28AM

The quality loss is overhyped. Most people can't discern it. As my Physics prof used to say: If you can't detect the change, there was no change.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: Cygnia on May 09, '06 05:28:07PM

I created the Protected AAC Smart Playlist and it shows 619 songs. The last time I can remember buying a physical CD is a few months ago when Rammstein's new album was released, but not on iTunes (at least at that time.) I pretty much buy all my music on either iTunes or eMusic at this point.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: emax on May 09, '06 05:47:42PM

With 1000 purchased songs in my iTunes playlist, I may be an addict. But I can explain... ;-)

I think buying the U2 box set kind of skews my numbers.

Also, I always check the IMS home page on Tuesdays for their free tracks. I figure I'm getting ~75 tracks a year from that. Discovered some very cool music this way, to boot!



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: Dave Andrews on May 09, '06 08:49:42PM

I have downloaded one free tune, paid for 3 video's, and purchased zero tunes. I still like the feel of a CD, the fact its material and not just a download. I buy CD's and RIP them, then put the CD in storage. If I am going to buy a whole CD then it doesnt cost anymore to get it on a pressed CD with all the artwork and often a little booklet. My life is not totally integrated in to Apple's digital hub yet! I have a CD player in the card, portable CD player in the workshop/garden, so the physical CD is not yet replacible. I have put my iPod and a set of speakers in the kitchen, but to be honest its not the digital dream I expected. I have to transfer tunes from my lounge Mac, my PowerBook machine and my work machine to this iPod, then my wife complains her iBook tunes are not on it (and makes me do the cooking as punishment). I have to use a ripping utility to share MY music between computers and iPods. I remember when all you did was pick up a CD and pop it in the player, no digital rights management etc.

ahh the days of vinyl, the hiss pop and crackle... yeah who am I kidding, roll on the digital revolution, just hurry up and reach my house



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: macgruder on May 09, '06 09:41:57PM

Bear in mind that it has always been a marketing ploy to suggest that CDs are somehow 'pure perfect' sound. Yeah, vinyl does have pops etc. but it is ironic that vinyl sounds so much better than a CD. A technology that was out of date almost 20 years ago.

Of course, we can have the best of both worlds - high quality sound but without pops. CD just ain't it, and mp3 certainly isn't. But the time is coming, when we can have bit rates higher than CD. Unfortunately, so many people have been conditioned to believe that CD is so pure, that it is the benchmark that the digital world is measured against - despite it being relatively poor quality. Sound after all is not defined by the absense of pops and crackles.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: frgough on May 10, '06 08:45:03AM

Marketing ploy? Give me a break. It's not like people had never heard vinyl before when CDs first came out.

CDs became more popular because they DO sound better than vinyl or tape in the minds of nearly everyone. Otherwise, they'd just keep buying vinyl.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: macgruder on May 10, '06 08:46:10PM

No they became more popular than vinyl because they are more convenient and last longer(although ironically this latter may not be true!). Skipping tracks, no flipping the record, etc. and far smaller.

Then at the time, the marketters managed to equate in peoples mind that lack of artifacts = sound quality. That's fair enough. Many people don't want/need very high quality, but today we can get the best of all worlds.

Also, quality is hardly judged by the majority is it? There's a certain computer manufacturer that only has a few percent of the marketplace, despite being the best. What was its name again :-)



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: macgruder on May 09, '06 09:33:34PM

I think you are all mad! I'm an Apple user of over 20 years and have 6 or 7 of them in the house but I haven't and will never buy a song from iTunes (unless they change it substantially). First, you are buying a compressed 128kb file. That is totally insane. CD quality is bad enough.

Then you are effectively locked into using an iPod. We should be getting to the stage where we can download a near master-quality file. By that I don't mean a CD quality track, but something taken direct from the original master and compressed. Or at least we could have that option (perhaps at $2) - which actually will turn out to be cheaper in the long term - in the same way as people who have bought an LP, tape, and CD have bought multiple copies of the same song, many iTunes downloaded will probably need to be repurchased in the future as people release how crappy they are. The stereos of 2010 will be media independent, but capable of playing extreme high-quality files.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: pub3abn on May 10, '06 06:40:36AM

Personally 128Kb AAC is more than enough for me. I think it sounds great. Most of my music is classical or new age. Regarding the iPod part of your comment, I don't own an iPod (or any other portable media device). I just listen to music on my various computers. If a person is unusually finicky in their musical tastes, or wants to push their $3000 stereo system to its limits, I can see where Apple's AAC limitations might be an issue. But I doubt most people would be bothered by the quality.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: frgough on May 10, '06 08:48:09AM

I always get a kick out of people who scream and yell about AAC compression out of one side of their mouths, while out of the other they explain away the hiss of tape and pop of vinyl as they preach its audio superiority.

It's nothing more than the human desire to feel superior by embracing the fringe.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: macgruder on May 10, '06 08:12:41PM

You misunderstand my point completely. I'm not suggesting that people should listen to vinyl. I haven't listened to vinyl for years. I'm saying in this day and age we should get the best of all worlds:
The quality or vinyl (or better)
None of the pops etc
The convenience of digital

Instead we get the less than the quality of CD which in turn is less than the quality of vinyl *sound*. If people are happy with this fair enough, but you are stuck with that forever.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: sthodges on May 09, '06 10:33:27PM

I have about thirty "purchased songs" from iTMS, but they are all freebies. I do sometimes use the iTunes music store to 'preview' tracks, but then I end up buying a CD. I do use iTunes to organize my digital music files.

At this point, I just don't want to spend money on less than CD quality music (and I prefer higher quality formats). I don't mind getting the CD and transfering it (for convenience purposes for when I'm away form home) into a lossless or lossy format depending on where I'm taking it -- I can always go back to the CD if I want to. I don't like DRM.

I still listen to vinyl. Some of my favorite records sound better than the later CD release. And of course, some haven't ever been released on CD, let alone iTMS.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: vandil on May 10, '06 04:08:28AM

I have over 300 iTMS purchases. Less than 20 of which are video content.

I pretty much purchase all of my music on the iTMS. As an iPod owner, it gives me the flexibility I need. And to futureproof my purchases, I convert my music purchases into MP3s using a CD-RW. I can't hear a sound quality difference, so it doesn't bother me. I'm not too concerned about finding a way to convert the video file purchases just yet.

I still purchase some music on CD, but only in a few cases: 1.) The songs/album are not available on the iTMS. 2.) The album is a new release from one of my two favorite bands.

Everyone has an opinion on iTunes, iTMS, and iPod, so mine won't really matter. However, one thing I will say is that the iTMS has changed the way I acquire music. For me, I purchase far fewer CDs than I used to and I now also would rather spend 99 cents for a track than to obtain it illegally. Karma and all.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: munkt0n on May 10, '06 04:34:52AM

DRM, crappy bit rate. no thanks..



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: jlabeatnik on May 10, '06 07:01:03AM

62 downloads. And there isn't anything wrong with the quality.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: DougAdams on May 10, '06 07:20:36AM
Maybe it's my age, but I just don't listen to music the way I used to. There was a time when I had to have the most pristene versions of new releases, sat for hours in front of the speakers just listening. That thrill is gone. Maybe it's because I'm a jaded former radio guy: to me it's all just Music Industry product anyway. While I can appreciate and respect listeners who prefer the highest quality audio, frankly, I just want to hear my favorite music while I'm doing something else like working, driving, cooking, entertaining. Does that make me a bad music consumer/aficionado? So the iTMS is a great convenience. I have purchased over 1500 tracks (and over 500 from eMusic) and DRM is a moot issue. Plus, do I need a bunch of CDs I never reach for taking up space on my DVD shelf? I've ripped the CDs I like and then tossed 'em. I'm starting to feel about CDs the way I feel about tape: ewww. Except for CDs I use for my audio work, I pretty much prune my CD collection every few months based on the amount of dust collecting on them.

---
Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes
http://www.dougscripts.com/itunes/

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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: kirkmc on May 10, '06 07:52:11AM

Doug, I gotta disagree on one point. Today, you're listening to music in whatever compressed format you've chosen. (FWIW, I use 160 kpbs AAC.) However, tomorrow, with terabyte iPods, you'll want to re-rip some or all of your CDs. When lossless hardly makes a dent on the capacity, then you'll rip different. (I know I will.)

This said, I agree about the more general eewwwiness of CDs, and I've got several thousand of them. (Many in the basement.) However, regarding classical music, which is about half my collection, I do fish them out every now and then to read the liner notes, or the libretti for operas.

Kirk

---
Read my blog: Kirkville -- http://www.mcelhearn.com
Musings, Opinion and Miscellanea, on Macs, iPods and more



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: frgough on May 10, '06 08:52:51AM

I'll bet money that I could take the same song, rip it to lossless, then to 128 AAC, segment the audio, stitch random clips from the two rips together into a seamless track of the original, burn it back out to CD and you would be unable to tell which was lossless and which was 128 AAC under your normal listening environment.

It's called threshold of detection and for nearly every human being on the planet, 128 AAC falls below it.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: jctull on May 10, '06 05:30:12PM

Can you cite some sources for your claims? Otherwise this is purely another opinion. I would be happy to see how this claim has been rigorously tested, but I doubt that it has. Feel free to prove me wrong.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: macgruder on May 10, '06 08:20:47PM

My Japanese wife has started popping CDs into the computer which is hooked up to the stereo. Asking her why she wasn't listening to the stuff she ripped to iTunes at 320. "It doesn't sound as good. His voice sounds flat." Hardly, a scientific survey but an idea that normal people can tell the difference.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: mozart111 on May 10, '06 09:36:11AM

1102 bought for me out of 5269 total.

What are the total of all songs in peoples iTunes library?



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: kirkmc on May 10, '06 11:44:23AM

I've got about 20,000 in two libraries - one classical, one with everything else.

Kirk

---
Read my blog: Kirkville -- http://www.mcelhearn.com
Musings, Opinion and Miscellanea, on Macs, iPods and more



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: visionaut on May 10, '06 02:42:45PM

Rob,

By my calc, 454 songs is 45 CDs, not 21 - so you're more addicted than you think! (or iTunes HAS changed your music purchase habits).

BTW, I like the idea of a follow-up survey, with total songs in collection, purchased portion, and whether one's music appetite/consumption has changed (up/down) since the coming-of-age of digital music.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: robg on May 10, '06 04:50:18PM

"454 songs is 45 CDs, not 21"

I didn't put the details of my estimate in the note, but it went like this...

The total time, in minutes, for all of my purchases, is 1,632.26. In that total, though, there's some stuff that really shouldn't be counted as musical CD purchases -- comedy albums, a few videos, some spoken word stuff, etc.

So I took my total minutes down by 360, or six hours woth of stuff. I then divided the result by 60 minutes, which is my guess as to the average length of a CD (they can be up to 74 minutes long).

1,272.26 รท 60 = 21.2 CDs

So there ya go; that's how I arrived at 21 CDs. Aren't you glad you asked? :)

-rob.



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: Jyri Erik on May 10, '06 05:51:26PM

One possible reply isn't a choice. I've downloaded (as of right now) 197 songs from the iTMS. I've bought 0 songs from iTMS. I download the freebie of the week and when they've had the various pormotions where you get free songs and I usually buy said product, I get those. So I guess that makes me a semi-addict

Jyri



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Are you an iTunes Music Store addict?
Authored by: sloth on May 10, '06 10:07:21PM

I have 1269 songs purchased on iTunes. I didn't that would be that unusual but it looks like it is. Before iTunes I bought maybe one or two CDs per year. I think iTunes is incredible and it has made it much more enjoyable for me to experiment with all kinds of music that I would have never listened to before, like reggae, funk, opera, etc. iTunes has made my life significantly more pleasurable.

And I think the sound quality is fine.



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