Switched to iTunes + iPod

I’ve been playing around with my new iPod lately trying to figure out what all the fuss is about, and I have to admit that the hype is justified. I’ve been attached to Windows Media Player for quite a while and it wasn’t easy to give it up, but the combination of iTunes + iPod is very slick and the user interface is extremely simple (note to self: you could learn a lot from Apple’s UI work).

What’s interesting is how using iTunes has changed my music buying habits. In the past I’ve always bought complete CDs, but now I’m purchasing individual songs via iTunes instead. In the last few weeks I’ve bought a ton of songs – but no albums. I now have an eclectic assortment of songs that I’m trying to figure out how to best arrange into playlists.

For example, here’s my first try at an iMix playlist. Yes, I know – it’s a weird set of songs (Danzig and Johnny Cash don’t usually go well together), but I actually enjoy the mix. Oh, and I originally had Frank Zappa’s “Echidna’s Arf (Of You)” as the last track, but as far as iTunes is concerned, Zappa doesn’t exist (anyone from Zappa.com listening?).

18 thoughts on “Switched to iTunes + iPod

  1. Wait until you get into the “smart playlists”. Basically I listen to ALL my music on random. I have a work playlist (no rap or swear words), a car playlist (no classiscal music because you can’t hear it anyway), and a web dev (trace, zone background music). You never get bored of your own collection, and you don’t have to keep changing and managing playlists.

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  2. Matthew, I’ve created a few smart playlists, but so far I’ve liked my own mixes better. However, I do admit that the element of surprise in a smart playlist that selects songs by random is nice.

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  3. Nick Bradbury praising Apple? Might we see a certain program implemented for Mac? Just kidding Nick, I’ll keep that discussion out of your blog.
    I personally don’t see the enjoyment in buying music song-by-song… Generally I enjoy every song on the album (if its a band i enjoy).
    Plus, call me a purist, but I like holding the CD book, with lyrics and artwork designed by the band. Besides, what will I bring for artists to sign when I meet them at shows?

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  4. If you are into buying lot’s of tunes from the ITMS, you might consider the following “deal” that was on gotapex.com this morning :
    HOT HOT!! Amazon – iTunes $15 Prepaid Cards – Buy 4 Get 1 Free!!! (Posted by: Leon)
    Buy four $15 Apple iTunes prepaid cards and get a fifth one free with promotional code ITUNES544DEC. Expires 01/02/2005. This is an awesome gift for anyone or just for yourself. You basically get $75 worth of music (75 songs) for just $60! That`s just 80 cents a song! Also, since these iTunes cards are sold by Amazon, you can use it towards your other purchases to get your total over $25 (for free shipping). ITUNES PREPAID CARD FREE OFFER

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  5. While the iPod’s competition are catching up, with bigger hard drives, more features and lower prices, the quality of the software seems to be an area people forget. iTunes is brilliant for usability and looks great too, although it’s a bit sloppy in terms of performance (so maybe Apple could learn a lot from your performance work ;) ).
    Windows Media Player, especially in at version 10, tries to do too much in my opinion. It tries to juggle being an audio and video player while also managing your music collection and allowing you turn burn CDs and listen to radio and sync with your device and… well, you get the point. It’s a jack of all trades but master of none. iTunes concentrates on just a few of those and does them well.
    I hear Sony Connect, for use with their NW-HD1/2/3 devices, is even worse. A shame because the devices themselves aren’t bad. But then experience with scanners, digital cameras and printers would suggest that most hardware makers are useless at software design. Apple is one of the few exceptions.

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  6. Neil, I agree completely. WMP is actually a great piece of work, but it tries to do far too much. Microsoft has done a nice job organizing WMP’s many features – given everything it does, it could be *far* more cluttered than it is – but it’s still overwhelming.
    Apple’s gift is keeping things simple. Power users may rail against the minimal feature set of iPod+iTunes, but IMO this is what has made it such a success.

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  7. I think the soon-to-be released subscription service is the way to go (napster-to-go). All you can eat for a flat fee ($15). All encoded at the same high quality bit rate. I bet your music collection is in varying bit rates and some sound better than others. Also, no “purchasing decision” every time you see something you might like, and you know how easy it is to spend to much money. Download at will without a care in the world. No more proprietary Apple-take-it-as-we-say service. I do own an iPod, and I loaded all my CDs (about 100) onto my iPod. Guess what … I don’t ever listen to them, because it’s old music I’m bored with. I want to discover new music, and nor do I have to worry about whether my songs will play on something 5-years down the road. I can move to another subscription service with access to the same music … all the same music. No more archiving or worrying about where my DRM music files actually are located. For me it makes more sense than paying $100 for 100 songs. I don’t have to be petty with my music choice … I can listen to everything without budgeting.

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  8. actually glenn’s danzig wrote a song for johnny cash on the first american recordings album. the track entitled thirteen sounds like it could have been written by either artist.

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  9. Nick, its official, my girlfriend now hates you.
    Her reasoning? Well firstly it was because when I started using RSS I started reading a lot more news and kept talking to her about it. Then when you made FeedStation I started listening to loads of podcasts and kept talking to her about it.
    Now you tell me how good the iPod is, something I have been telling myself is a very bad thing which isn’t worth the money. So obviously now I want one!
    Nick you are a very bad man!
    SOOOOOOOOO gonna have to get an iPod in the new year tho ;)

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  10. Nick,
    Dont forget to take advantage of free song tuesday at the itunes music store if you aren’t yet. Every tuesday Apple gives away a free song – it is a nice, cheap, way of finding new music you would probably never hear – and who knows you might find a new “favorite” band in the process.
    I have probably gotten 30 free songs so far – and i’m never one to turn away $30 in free cash.

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  11. IMHO, the biggest problem Microsoft have with WMP is the lack of a Microsoft audio player and that’s Apple’s big advantage. I’ve had four or five players and none of them integrates well: playlists, ratings and recently played are not transferred. The iPod has all of this spot on: musical tastes need to be able to move between devices. In addition, WMA-compatible music stores have moved the goal posts so some of my previously purchased music is now not able to be played on my player.
    I’ve used WMP for a while and encoded most of my music in their WMA format – it wouldn’t be impossible to switch but it would be a pain but I swear that it’s very, very tempting. It’s not just the iTunes software and it’s not just the iPod – it’s the combination they’ve got right.

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  12. Musak, converting your WMA files is very simple with iTunes. You just select “Add Folder to Library” and choose your WMP media folder, and iTunes will convert everything for you.

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  13. Hey Nick – Glad you discovered the ipod+itunes combination. I too was very reluctant of itunes and actually used a program called ephpod. Ephpod is an excellent (free) program that made the interface to the ipod a bit more friendly for me (I was using Music Match, which was painful). Since then, I have spent more time with iTunes and have come to appreciate the speed and simplistic nature of the GUI. I also like the active search option and the newly included duplicate checker (though it only works for your library on the computer, not on the ipod itself. The ipod has definitely changed the way I buy most music, sometimes just a song, sometimes a whole album. It’s funny, I wrote Apple with some feedback on their store about how they are changing the same amount for an album (new Beastie Boys) as Target did yet I get reduced quality music, no jewel case or cd sleeve, and it had to be produced, burned, and shipped to Target but they didn’t find it important to get back to me with any justification. Guess opinions only matter when it makes them more money…..
    I also want to say thanks for the creation of FeedDemon – I just purchased it last night and love it. I have a few ideas too I would like to bounce off of you……..where should I post those?

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