iTMS Success Story

I’ve just spent my first 99 cents at the iTunes Music Store. It’s taken me awhile, as I’m one of those people that likes to be able to hold the liner notes, etc. when they buy music. Anyhow, the process was so simple, seamless and instantaneous, that it could easily become a dangerous habit. Although I will try my best to avoid that.

The story behind my first purchased song is somewhat of an internet success story. Flash back 6 years ago, when my wife and I are sitting in a London pub (probably Old Speckled Hen on tap) and a fantastic song is being played. I remember only a partial lyric: “shake baby shake”, which at the time I remember hoping meant “baby” in a metaphorical sense. But based on the mood of the song (positive and poppy), I’m sure that I was right.

So, I forget about the song for a long while, never knowing who it was. Now, going from that one line I remembered 6 years ago, to having the song on my iPod in about 2 minutes is what’s worth celebrating here. Search Google for the partial lyric to find out the song was “500 (Shake Baby Shake)” by the band Lush. A second query for “Lush” on iTMS pulled up the song, one click and it’s downloading directly to my iTunes library. I’m sure it’s why the system is so successful — that the downloading and automatic integration with your existing music libarary is so seamless.

Those that have been using the iTMS all along already know how convenient it is. I’m certainly late to the game. For full albums, I’ll most likely stick to buying the actual CD — but for instances like the Lush song, when I just really want to hear a particular song without investing too much, it couldn’t be any easier.


  1. Oscar says:

    Yeh i agree i really like the itunes store but ive had to cut back as i had got into the habit of buying several (around 9) songs a day.

  2. eric says:

    I readily admit to being a recovering iTMS addict. According to iTunes, I have 442 songs in my purchased playlist – almost all of them albums, so it’s not quite as expensive as it sounds – which is certainly not cheap.
    It’s almost too convenient – with ‘real’ media, I’d only buy albums when I happened to wander past the record shop a half dozen blocks away. Now, it’s an any-time thing.

  3. Steve says:

    Yes, a very dangerous thing in the wrong hands. Mine included.
    Next time you’re in London and hear a song that you’d like to find more about (as if!), simply point your mobile phone at a speaker and dial 2580. You’ll receive an SMS back in a few minutes with the name of the artist and the song (90% of the time).
    A wonderful service for us Brits.

  4. Brian says:

    I had a similar experience a while back: there was a song used on ER (when Carter was in Africa) that I could tell was sung by Willie Nelson, but was unlike anything I’d heard by him. After Googling a few lyrics, I learned it was a cover of “Willow Weep for Me” by Tin Hat Trio with Willie as guest vocalist. This was all within a few minutes of hearing it. Ain’t technology grand?

  5. Adrian says:

    Strangely I listened to that album yesterday and haven’t listened to it for many years myself. It’s a great album, and if you like that track you’ll probably like the whole album.
    I’ve only bought two tracks via IMS, and although I think the service is really slick. I still think the costs is about three times overpriced. If a buy a CD the quality is far better, and I can do what I like with the music. IMS, even though it has a really fair DRM license, still worries me too much. What happens if want a higher bit rate, or if MP4 isn’t supported in the future of if of if or if …
    That’s the main thing holding me back from going completely digital. Now if I could rip everything with Apples Lossless Codec and have it compress it on the fly when transferring to my iPod Mini, that would then be enough for me to ditch my whole collection as physical media.

  6. Phil Balchin says:

    So, you’re a real ale drinker, jolly good show!
    oh, and that itunes thing is pretty good for finding music, whatever you do though, don’t buy music music here in England. In the US, a song is 99c, that should be about 60ish pence here, but they charge something like 75p? for exactly the same thing!

  7. Gordon says:

    Ohhh all my points have been covered.
    Ditto on the “not buying albums” thing.
    Ditto on the “easy to use” thing.
    Ditto on the “taking advantage of internet and information desire” thing.
    Ditto on the “Old Speckled Hen”!
    The only downside to iTMS is the lack of browseability. It’s NOT like a record store and I find myself with far fewer impulses buys. Considering it’s all hooked into my iTunes Library (with about 50GB of music) you’d think they could make some sensible suggestions for me. I’m sorry I DO NOT want the latest Busted album!

  8. This addiction hit me (on Windows, even) a while ago and I had bought about 20 entire albums in the course of a couple of months.
    After burning all of them to CD and then ripping them to remove the DRM and make them playable in WinAmp, though, I really lost my enthusiasm. I’ve bought real CDs instead ever since.

  9. quis says:

    You DO want the new Busted album. You want it. Really bad.

  10. Dave Marks says:

    Thats true – if it could read what i play often and suggest music i like that would be cool.
    Not brought anything yet – uninstalled some time ago, but maybe i should investigate it again.
    Can I burn the tracks to CD though? I mean i want to be able to play it in my car, and when i’m in the kitchen and i don’t have an ipod

  11. Brian Wahoff says:

    #7 & #10 – though it is not integrated into the iTMS, you may consider Upload your iTunes library file and it gives you recommendations, similar users, analyzes which artists you listen to most frequently, etc. Those running OSX can use mobster, an add-on to iTunes that lets you manage your musicmobs profile directly.

  12. Keith says:

    Sounds really cool, but dangerous. I’m a huge music fan and would probably end up buying new songs everyday. Fortunately it’s not available in Ireland at the mo :)

  13. kirkaracha says:

    I’d like to see them take the integration further. I listen to a lot of internet radio, and it’d be cool to be able to buy the song that’s currently playing (if it’s available).

  14. Until the RIAA’s business model doesn’t include suing their customers, I refuse to buy any music.

  15. Taco John says:

    I would like to see iTunes hook up with satellite radio. I have XM, and it would be awesome to hear a great song, see the title, but then hit a button on the radio, and buy the song. You wanna talk about impulse buys. That would be insane. Just give a teenage kid an iTunes account, an XM radio, have them listen to 20on20 for the whole countdown about twice and I’d be surprised if they didn’t spend about $5 (in roughly 3 hours).
    The only other iTunes problem I have is this…
    1) I hear a great song
    2) Instead of buying the album (which I didn’t really like from the previews), I buy the single
    3) I hear the rest of the album at some point and really like it
    4) Now I either have to throw away $.99 or pay extra to buy the cd as individual songs. There should be a way to credit previous purchases from an album. Like if you bought three songs from an album, $2.97 would be discounted off the album.

  16. Ryan says:

    What’s the saying?
    Oh, I know.
    Resistance is futile.

  17. #3 Steve – Wow, that sounds extremely cool. Works with any radio station? I would love this feature in the U.S.

  18. Josh says:

    It would be cool if Apple hired the Delicious Monster people to integrate the cool cd cover effects and shelves for iTunes. That would make it feel more like a record store.

  19. Anthony Baker says:

    Oh, iTunes is crack for music fans. Had been using MusicMatch before they created iTunes for the PC (I’m now on a PowerBook, however), but iTunes was so much simpler.
    It sneaks up on you — the purchasing is so seemless, you don’t even think about what you’re spending. Especially if you select the option to not have them ask you “ARE YOU SURE?” every time you download a song. That’s like taking parental controls off the thing…
    There are two things iTunes lacks that I still hope for — and this is their achilles heel, insofar as I’m concerned, because they do everything else perfectly:
    (1) An database. Man, Amazon does this wonderfully in spades. Customer reviews. Editorial reviews. A better “here’s what other people bought” feature than they have now. I think they’d really sell more music. I’d certainly find more items that I probably wouldn’t have considered before…
    (2) Streaming audio, in the fashion Napster and MusicMatch does. Hell, I’d subscribe. Pick an artist (or artists), listen to tunes from them in streaming format. I loved this feature on MusicMatch, but no Mac client offers it.
    C’est la vie.
    I’ll take the what they’re offering already in the meantime.
    Hell, it’s wonderful knowing that they’re dominating a market at last.

  20. Adrian says:

    #17 Dan – Works with any radio station, club, TV show, any thing. The song just has to be loud enough and clear enough (and in their database which most are).
    It’s useful for two reasons. One is you configure out what that great track is (more useful in a bar or club, cause the DJ actually tells you on radio) and useful for logging great songs to buy later, because you can log into their site and see all the songs you have ‘shazamed’.
    My first itunes purchase was actually a song I heard on the radio, but was parking and knew I wouldn’t hear the end of (and hence the DJ saying what the track was). Hit 2580, got the song texted to me, previewed it on IMS and bang 79p later, my first purchase.

  21. disneymike says:

    I guess I must be the only other Mac user that hasn’t purchased a song through the iTunes Music Store. Correction, now I am the only one. LOL

  22. Small Paul says:

    I’m still reticent about buying albums or anything on the iTMS, due to a curious unease about sound quality (I don’t seem to notice much difference in the ones I’ve bought, but still, for some reason…) and a less curious unease about DRM.
    I like to be able to do what I want with music I buy, and I can imagine getting frustrated if one day I find I can’t move a few tracks to a new machine, or burn them for a mix CD for someone. I know iTMS DRM is one of the least rubbish (though not as good as – check that out), but still. Hm.

  23. EricR says:

    The real catch/draw for me are the exclusive tracks. I’m a big fan of having the actual cd/record including the cover art and liner notes. But, by offering the four 10-track bootlegs John Mayer released from his 2004 summer tour (live tracks from DCfC, The Stills, etc.), I’ll be hopping on the iTMS Bandwagon the day it arrives here in Canada (later this month).
    Will I continue to buy ‘regular’ albums from iTMS? Probably not. But live bootlegs, exclusive singles and such are hard to resist for obsessive fans like myself. A good marketing tool to say the least (but annoying for anyone outside the iTMS market!).

  24. I have to argee that the iTMS experience is pretty flawless and works well. You click the button, it downloads and syncs your iPod for you.
    My only real complaint with the whole system is the DRM aspect. Not having it, but working with it when you have to rebuild your computer. I back up the M4P files, but when it comes time to reintergrate them into iTunes, I have to reauthorize them to play, and eat up one authorization use. I don’t like that. If I pay for the music, I should have the rights to do what I will with it, since sharing them isn’t among the plans. That’s just a personal preference, however.

  25. There are a few more incredibly infectious pop tunes on that Lush album. You should really Ladykillers, Single Girl and Ciao! It’s only $2.97 more… ;-)

  26. Rafal says:

    Hmm.. Maybe Apple should build in a feature where you can also search for songs by lyrics? And maybe you could get the lyrics when you buy music? Wouldn’t that be cool?

  27. Neil T. says:

    Another site for Brits is Commercial Breaks and Beats which lists the music used in various TV advertising campaigns. It’s how I found out that The Vines did the music to one of the iPod adverts. It’s got a British bias but may be useful for those companies that show the same commercial in different countries.

  28. becka says:

    Yes, I discoved the iTMS awhile ago when Leo Leport keep “pimpin’” it on Screensavers. So low and behold it was so easy, it’s my way now. I just love burning cd’s from my “purchased” songs and playing along in the car. How easy was that. Gosh I remember how difficult it used to be to burn a CD. Anymore I usually buy about 10 songs a month, burn CD and dance around happily. :-)

  29. Sarah says:

    #24 Michael,
    Before you rebuild, “deauthorize your computer” or you can even contact Apple and have them deauthorize it for you if you couldn’t do it before the rebuild. I had a friend do this the other day after he rebuilt his computer and Apple was quick to comply.
    It seems to be fixed somehow now, but I had an issue with iTunes where the program wouldn’t remember that my comp was authorized to play purchased music. Everytime I would play a purchased song after a restart I’d have to put in my password. That was a pain!

  30. krf says:

    I agree with #22.
    I think some people forget that the quality of mp3′s and similar file types (a few exceptions and rip rates not withstanding), that you start losing sound quality, especially played on higher-end equipment.
    But for the casual download and playback, these types of services are convenient (although, I’d rather buy the cd and rip/burn/mix it myself).
    Great site, btw.

  31. Pete says:

    I had exactly this experience, not two days ago. Heard a song briefly on the radio, remembered a time a few years back. Did a lyric search and found the track. Alas, there is no itunes set up as yet in australia. But I was thinking that when there is, I will have to be very careful;)
    The beauty of itms is in the facillitation of impulse buying. 99cents is just so easy to spend and worth it for the instant gratification alone.
    Cheers and be careful.

  32. Kev says:

    The same thing happened to me a few years ago when I started using the Internet. Google was just starting out and I could remember the words to a song on a tape someone gave me years ago – I never knew the name of the song or the artist. Turned out it was a song called ‘The Crossing’ by Johnny Clegg and Savuka. I bought the album from Amazon at the time (though it’s available on iTMS now).
    Funnily enough I downloaded my first tracks legally this week also. I bought Sam Brown’s original version of ‘Stop’. I can’t get on with the version recorded for the Bridget Jones soundtrack which my wife likes to play regularly – I’ve surreptitiously replaced the track on her iPod now!!
    I actually started to download updated P-P shareware to do a search for the track, but caught myself halfway through to question my own motives. I did a search on iTMS on the off-chance – once the track was found it seemed only right to purchase it properly. It’s going to get infectious – I’ve been having another trawl tonight!

  33. Juan Carlos says:

    sucess or success?

  34. Adrian says:

    Aaah Jonny Clegg … you should have seen him live when he could dance … great show. That takes me back.

  35. chris says:

    Lush’s ‘Ladykiller’ is worth a download too :)

  36. luxuryluke says:

    I just wish they had William Hung stuff on iTMS.
    my purchased music: 286 songs. mostly albums. so i’m guessing i’ve spent around $200 for 22.3 hours of music that i’ve previewed and love! especially Doris Days!!! I can’t believe they had *that* one!

  37. chris lake says:

    Early Lush songs are the best imho: De-Luxe, Etherial, Thoughtforms, For Love etc. Well worth investigating.
    Still can’t believe that goddamned moose competition.