Article by Simon Dawson
The iTunes Music Store isn’t the only option for downloading tracks from the Internet. But if you use iTunes and an iPod, it’s unquestionably the most convenient, offering you instant, legal, access to hundreds of thousands of tracks for 79p/99c each. Unlike some of its competitors, the iTunes Music Store is not a website, so don’t expect to reach it with Internet Explorer or Safari. The only way in is through iTunes: simply connect to the Net, click the Music Store icon in the Source List, and after a few seconds the iTunes window will be taken over by the Store’s front page…
Logging in for the first time
Though any iTunes user can browse the Music Store, listen to samples and look at artwork, if you actually want to buy anything you need to set up an account. Which is easily done: hit the Sign In button (top right); press Create New Account (or choose, if you prefer, to use your existing.mac or AOL account details); and follow the prompts to enter your payment and contact details. If someone else is already signed in to the Store on the same computer, they’ll need to sign out first.
You’ll need your ID and password each time you want to but something, so keep them safe.
You shouldn’t struggle to find your way around the iTunes Music Store. Like online CD stores such as Amazon, it lets you peruse by genre, look at “Staff Favourites”, “Featured Artists”, “Exclusives” and so on. But it also lets you use the various tools familiar from browsing your own iTunes Library. For example:
Once you are in the Store the iTunes Search field can be used to search the Store’s catalogue. The homepage also features a link to Power Search” where you can narrow your search criteria.
The Browse function works in exactly the same way as it does for your own Library: hit the Browse button in the top right corner and then browse genres, artists and albums in the columns that appear.
Whether you are browsing your own Library or the Music Store’s catalogue, you can use the grey circular Quicklink buttons in Song List to quickly access all the Music Store’s selections for a particular artist. Quicklinks can be turned on and off for your own Library in iTunes Preferences under General.
You can preview thirty seconds’ worth of any track within the Music Store catalogue simply by double-clicking the song’s name in the Song List. You can also drag any previews into playlists on the Source List to listen to later. These previews will appear in the Song List all ready for you to click when you want to buy the whole track.
Once you’re ready to buy some tracks, there are two ways to go about it. You could use the “1-Click” method, whereby a single click of a Buy Song button in the Song List will debit the payment from your card and start the track downloading to your iTunes Library. Alternatively you can shop using a “Shopping Cart”, which appears in the Source List. As you browse the store you add songs to your cart using the Add Song buttons; when you are done, click the cart’s icon in the Source List, inspect it’s contents and then hit the Buy Now button in the bottom right corner to pay and start downloading.
You can set which method you wish to use in the iTunes Preferences panel under Store.
Authorizing your computer
Music purchased from the iTunes Music Store can only be “authorized” for use on five machines at any one time. This way Apple hope that they can curb the unauthorized sharing of copyrighted music. Your computer is authorized to play music you purchase when you set up your account, or when you enter your ID and password to play a song that you’ve downloaded.
If your account is already authorized with five computers, you will have to deauthorize one of the machines before playing music on a sixth. This is done by selecting Deauthorize computer… from the Advanced menu in iTunes. Equally, if you ever plan to sell or ditch an old machine which has been used to play purchased songs, make sure you deauthorize it before you say goodbye.
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