A day with iTunes Match

Overall iTunes Match has been worth it. There are some very interesting anomalies.

In some cases Match fails to match songs on an album for inexplicable reasons. Several albums of early 80's genres were matched for all but one song. Though the album had been ripped and encoded in a single shot something prevented these songs from being matched.

An even more interesting case is this album of Franz Danzi Concertos:
iTunes Match screenshot

Note that Match found 6 of the 7 tracks and uploaded just one. However this album is not available in the US iTunes Music Store (not sure if it's available elsewhere). The third track is available as a part of another collection but the other tracks are not available. Yet with Match I can (and have on another computer) update these tracks to a better encoded version of the tracks.

iPad's greatest flaw

ipad_connect_to_itunes.pngA today reminded me that I've been meaning to write about the big flaw in the iPad. Actually it is a flaw in iOS but I notice it most on the iPad.

First a little background. I've had an iPad for as long as they've been around and eagerly stood in line for the iPad 2's new cameras. More than the first iPad the iPad 2 is a transformative device. It is comfortable to hold in bed to read, it has an amazing cover that just works and it's a bright white color instead of the heavy black. (How the color affects the perception of weight is another topic for another day.)

As awesome as the device is for me. It comes with a horrible flaw. This first came to light the very night I picked it up. After the headache of convincing my credit card issuer that yes it really was me staying in a hotel and buying an iPad at an Apple store I met a friend and we headed out for dinner. Being a Drupalcon dinner there were plenty of tech folks. Since the line for Chicago pizza was longer than the line for the iPad 2 we had plenty of time to talk. Eventually I succumbed to peer pressure and opened the box.

While peeling away the shrink wrap on the box (even the box is slightly smaller than the previous iPad) thoughts of taking a few pictures of the group with the new iPad came to mind. With a creative group of smart people what could we do with this new technology while waiting for a dinner with a week's caloric intake? And then all at once it happened.

Music stores closing up shop

So another music store is closing and a competitor is up for sale. Not a new story by any means. Generally I have been unsympathetic knowing that the recording industry has brought the problems on itself. They have not figured out that iTunes and the other online stores will win out. Some few labels still think that they can force cd sales by keeping artists off iTunes music store. However, this story about Fort Collins record shops closing and being sold made me a little sad. The Finest is up for sale "while it still has some value". That's too bad it was one of the few record stores that was really likable. Local, new and used, and people who were easy to talk to. All traits that the big boxes lacked. This will be one record shop I'll actually miss although I haven't been there in years. And therein lies the problem. The last time I was in a record store was when Tower Records went out of business. Oh and if you think I'm going in to WalMart just to buy a Garth Brooks album.... think again.

iTunes with iPod library

One of the annoyances with iTunes and the iPod is that you need a music library to connect the iPod. I don't want to have a library setup. I want to just be able to plug in my iPod and listen to music as well as load tracks on to it. Sure there are some ways to do this like setting up a minimal library and using it just to connect a non-auto-sync iPod. That's a hassle I don't want to mess with. Because my iPod travels with me my iTunes library resides on an external drive which works reasonably well but there are times I just want to do an update at a coffee shop and be done. At least until we get the ultimate mobile system.

Apple's Complete My Album is good but not enough

Apple, Inc. today introduced Complete My Album which allows users of iTunes Music Store to be credited the purchase price of the single tracks they've bought from an album when purchasing the album. “Music fans can now round out their music collections by upgrading their singles into complete albums with just one click, and get full credit for those songs they have previously purchased from iTunes,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes.

He goes on with the expected statements about how great this is. It is, however, pretty good and not great. What would be great is if the music companies would pull their heads out of the sandbank they're building and realize that they should make it easy for people to buy songs and provide incentives for people to buy songs when they have one or two songs from an album that they didn't buy from iTunes. In this way the industry could start to turn the whole of music sharing into a marketing tool. Instead of getting their heads in the game the music industry seems to be set on repeating the failure of print media. Perhaps some day the industry will wake up and realize it's 2001 already.


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