Donut Age: America's Donut Magazine

Impulse buyers beware

I finally got around to trying the iTunes Music Store, which is part of Apple's iTunes 4 software. Although I'd been keeping tabs on this since it was first released, I hadn't been in a hurry to actually use it because initially all that was on it was mainstream from the major labels. But I had heard that they were expanding the inventory, and I had some time on my hands, so...

A few quick searches revealed some artists I liked, and after a few formalities, my account was activated and I could buy with impunity. For my initial foray, I stuck to safe ground: music I knew already, having had it at some point on a home-made tape or some such. Twenty minutes and 40 bucks later, I had complete digital copies of Sonic Youth's EVOL, Son House's The Original Delta Blues, Al Green's Call Me, and the great Rounder Records collaboration, Have Moicy!. The purchasing process is seamless and frighteningly easy. Click the Buy Now button, ignore the warning that you are about to actually spend money, and through the magic of highspeed Internet, bingo, the music is on your hard drive.

As far as I'm concerned, this is pretty revolutionary. Yes, the selection could still be improved. Yes, I realize there are some grumbles about the file format they use and the restrictions put on burning copies. Yes, this is still basically a delivery mechanism for the same old corrupt recording industry. But when you live hours from the nearest decent record store, the idea that you can, within minutes, buy and start listening to "John the Revelator" or "Expressway to Yr. Skull" is pretty amazing. Of course, I am a little afraid of what I'll do with this newfound convenience -- I came awfully close to buying the 6-minute, extended dance remix of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" the other day -- but I am more excited about buying music than I've been in a while, and that's saying something.