Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Apple Finally Starts Supersizing Its Free iTunes Samples

Still not convinced you want to plunk down $1.29 for that new Black Eyed Peas single? Take your time!

And then take some more time: Apple has started to increase the length of the free music samples it offers at its iTunes music store, from 30 seconds to 90 seconds.

Will that help Apple and the music industry move more product? It shouldn’t hurt, right? And anything they can do, they should do: Download sales are starting to droop.

This move has been in the works for months, but Apple had been unable to get clearances from music publishers. I’m still not sure if Apple will be doing this throughout the store: As of early Thursday morning, most of the songs I checked, in a decidedly unscientific survey, still had 30-second samples.

But my hunch is that Apple will adopt the 90-second standard as widely as it can, and that the inconsistency we’ve seen so far is just because it hasn’t gotten around to changing everything yet.

For instance, if you want to sample the Beatles’ version of “Twist and Shout”, you can hear 90 seconds of the song, but you can only hear 30 seconds of “Day Tripper.” Etc.

The only consistency I’ve found so far is that no Sony acts seem to offer the extended samples. But, again, my gut is that’s a temporary aberration.

Meanwhile Amazon, which runs a very distant second to iTunes in digital music sales, seems to still be offering the shorter samples.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus