Review: iTunes Plus

Here are our first impressions of the experience of use and quality of these new music tracks on iTunes Plus.

iTunes updated

To be able to buy tracks in iTunes Plus, you must first update iTunes to version 7.2. Although in previous versions of the program you will also be able to see the iTunes Plus link in the highlighted links area, when you click on it it will indicate that you will have to update to version 7.2 of iTunes to see the music corresponding to the iTunes Plus area.

Once you have installed iTunes 7.2, the link will take you to the page corresponding to iTunes Plus, where you will find a Recommendations box similar to the one used on the main page of the iTunes Store, as well as the columns of featured albums and songs. . The page also includes a genre drop-down menu in which you can select between the musical genres Alternative, Blues, Kids Music, Classical, Country, Dance, Electronic, Folk, Hip-Hop / Rap, Party Music, Jazz, New Age , Pop, R & N / Soul, Reggae, Rock, Soundtracks, International Music, Latin Music. Select a genre and you will see how the boxes corresponding to the recommendations change to show the songs and recommended albums for the selected genre.

iTunes Plus, if you prefer

When you click on an album on the iTunes Plus pages, the program will ask if you want to configure iTunes Plus preferences. If you click the iTunes Plus button at the bottom of the dialog box, the iTunes Plus version of a music track or music video will always be displayed if there is an available version of the selection in that format. Click Cancel and in that case iTunes will continue to offer you the music in the protected format, although in that case it will continue to inform you that a certain album is also available in the iTunes Plus version (accompanied by a link that, again, will offer you the option to activate said preference).

If you choose to activate the preference, you can always deactivate it again from the page corresponding to your iTunes Store account, which you can access through the Manage iTunes Plus button. Inexplicably, with the iTunes Plus version activated, the program will stop showing you the cheapest versions of the same music track. Similarly, with the iTunes Plus option disabled, you will not find links to the DRM-free versions unless you click on the “More information” link and, in the next window, click on the iTunes Plus button to activate the preference. corresponding to that characteristic.

Among the few issues I have encountered shortly after launching iTunes Plus is a dialog box that appeared whenever I tried to change my iTunes Plus preferences. Fortunately, the mistake was a mistake in itself. Whenever I changed the preferences, the information stored was correct in each case, regardless of what was shown in the error window.

Download the songs

Downloading a track or album from iTunes Plus follows the same process as downloading protected music; the only thing that cannot be done at the moment is to give away unprotected music as it is possible with protected music. On the album page you will see a label with the text iTunes Plus above the Buy album button; as well as a Plus icon followed by the price of 1.29 EUR to the left of each Buy Song button that accompanies each music track. Click on any of these buttons and, by default, you will be asked for your ID and password, after which the download to your computer will begin. The resulting files are encoded at a speed of 256 kbps and will be labeled with the extension .m4a. (This is the extension for unprotected AAC files, as opposed to the m4p extension used for protected AAC files.) A track of about four minutes will occupy around 8 MB.

When you enter the store, click on the iTunes Plus link and you will see an Update my library area in the upper right corner of the window. This area has been designed to facilitate the update of compatible contents from the iTunes library to the version of the songs without protection. Albums can be upgraded for 30 percent of the total album price, while individual track upgrades are priced at EUR 30 cents per track.

Unfortunately you cannot update individual tracks or albums; rather, it is an “all or nothing” option that applies to the entire music library. However, you are not required to update an album if you have only purchased a few tracks of that work. In this case, you will only have to update the tracks that you have purchased.

Click on the View details button and you will be transported to a page that will list all the albums and tracks that can be updated. Click on the Buy button and you will update all the contents to its iTunes Plus version. Before iTunes starts downloading the contents, you will be informed that the old versions will be removed from the iTunes library. You can tell iTunes to send these files to the Trash or to move them to the desktop. In both cases, the tracks will appear in a folder named iTunes Original Purchases, organized by artist and album folders.

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