In these tough times for the economy, file sharers and students alike, it’s time to find out exactly how much the convenience of buying music from iTunes costs.
To the untrained eye, buying Amazon MP3 music downloads might not immediately seem like a bargain ““ and let’s face it, it’s not as easy as clicking the buy button in iTunes. As with all things Apple, the whole experience of buying music on iTunes is seamless, simple and the catalog is huge, encompassing songs from the most obscure indie bands to mainstream pop.
Apple provides a slightly higher quality music format (DRM-free 256kb/s AAC), they also have variable song pricing, most individual songs costing you $1.29. Less popular songs are priced at $0.99 and $.79 (there are very few), but you can usually get a better deal by purchasing the whole album, with a typical 12 track record running you at $9.99.
There’s some good news though. Various promotions are always available if you visit the music store home, check the Facebook fan page and sign up for the Apple education newsletter. Just the other week, a 30 track sampler full of indie tracks was available for free, in addition to the free songs available every week on Tuesday.
You will also notice that certain bands/singers and genres will go on sale on special occasions, holidays or celebrations. You also have a good chance of getting the album at a lower price if you pre-order or buy it after the dust settles (after 3-4 months of the original release).
Depending on your perspective, as a PC or Mac user, an iPod or another device owner, the AAC format in which the music is available, might or might not suit your needs. The 256Kb/s AAC format is considered to be of higher quality to its MP3 counterpart, but any chance of noticing the difference will require a pretty expensive audio setup. (For more details on difference between audio formats see Audio File Formats Explained in Simple Terms)
Listening in noisy environments, on low quality ear buds (like the ones that come with your iPod) will mask any difference between the formats. You should also consider that not all devices can play the AAC format, especially older MP3 players. For most people, it doesn’t make sense to buy music from the iTunes Store without owning an iPod or iPhone ““ they probably have another application that syncs their device, and generally, buying Amazon MP3 downloads is cheaper.
Another nail in iTunes’s coffin is the fact that the Amazon downloader application will automatically import the Amazon MP3 songs you buy into iTunes if you choose to. Which means that you can have the songs on your iPod with just a little bit of hassle, as there’s no need to import manually. Plus since the Amazon MP3 songs come in DRM-free MP3 format, they can be immediately synced to your iPod, without requiring transcoding. If you’re using another MP3 player, like the Sandisk ones, your device most likely syncs with Windows Media Player, which is also compatible with the Amazon Downloader automatic import.
Amazon scores more points for having a lot larger collection of promotional priced albums and songs, and also offers a selection of free ones every day. At the end of the day, there’s no discernible reason that would make a price conscious person opt for buying music on iTunes.
Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments. You should also check out Download Free Music, Videos & Movies on iTunes, 7 Sites To Get Free Music Legally, 6 Ways To Sync Music To Your iPhone Without iTunes and 3 Ultra Cheap Alternatives To iTunes Store.