The night before the anniversary of the launch of the iTunes music store, it's now showing some major feature updates: videos, playlist publication, free featured artist downloads, integration with quicktime movie previews, lossless compression, and a host of other features. Thre are new Terms Of Service, naturally. Interestingly, you can now use five computers instead of three, but only 'Products from up to five different accounts on certain devices, such as an iPod and iPod mini'. Apparently they want me to '...agree that you will not attempt to, or encourage or assist any other person to, circumvent or modify any security technology or software that is part of the Service or used to administer the Usage Rules.'
My vinyl albums, although I could make a tape of them to play in the car, didn't used to say: 'Any burning or exporting capabilities are solely an accommodation to you and shall not constitute a grant or waiver (or other limitation or implication) of any rights of the copyright owners in any content, sound recording, underlying musical composition, or artwork embodied in any Product.' since this was already covered by copyright law.
I wonder how mad famously tight-lipped Steve Jobs will be that this is public ahead of the presentation.
Looking at the ease with which new compilation albums (which were just a selection of tracks and an album cover) were being promoted I'd been thinking that self-published playlists were only a matter of time. The question is how to rank them among the multitudes that would be made available. Never one to miss a marketing trick the answer is that you can email all your friends and a chart is kept of the most successful - since they can only contain tracks that are available on the music store. Now, where is the commission, er, I mean 'associates' program? Even without it, I'm sure there are enough Apple fans to make this a hit.
Other additions such as lossless compression are interesting - with the addition of DRM could this be the excuse to re-rip existing MP3 collections? There clearly has to be a good motivator to re-do this work - I'm sure for the purposes of my usage of music, I don't need more fidelity than 192kbps VBR.
For now, there's nothing on Apple's website about the iTunes upgrade, it's only viewable within iTunes itself. Until tomorrow morning, that is...