Apple is Increasing iTunes Song Previews X3

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The Apple iTunes music store will soon feature longer song samples.

Apple has begun to send out letters to music label representatives announcing change to longer song samples. The letter, sent out Tuesday November 2, asks labels to agree to new terms that will give Apple the licensing to change song samples from 30 seconds in length to 90 seconds. Only songs longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds will be affected and songs shorter than this will still only have 30 second samples.

Apples writes in the letter sent to music label representatives, “We believe that giving potential customers more time to listen to your music will lead to more purchases.” This idea has been proven true in a recent study at the Robert Morris University. Professor Min Lu and assistant Yabin Tu have come to the conclusion that 30 seconds of a song is not enough, “Our empirical tests show the current stingy online digital music sampling [of 30 seconds] is not optimal.” Their report states that consumers are more likely to buy songs if they are allowed to sample it for about 60 seconds. Giving consumers a 90 second preview of high quality music only satisfies a consumer’s interest in music that much more.

To be clear, song samples are snippets of music that give the consumer a taste of what they are about to purchase. A change in song sample length is also aimed to counter the free music availability that Pandora and Youtube provide. Consumers know that both services feature full length songs and thus give them the opportunity to preview music in full length, guiding consumers away from the iTunes music store.

Rumors of extending the length of song previews to 60 seconds began to circulate in September when Apple launched their new line of iPods. It didn’t happen. Apple still needed to negotiate with music publishers revealed the National Music Publishers Association.

Apple has not released a time frame in which the lengthened song previews would take place. As of Wednesday morning, November 3, songs still were providing 30 second previews.

It is clear that Apple has the digital download market on lock down controlling 70 percent of the market alone. A study made by NPD research noted that Apple hit the 10 billion song mark in February 2010. Apple is not a digital download force to be reckoned with, especially now with 90 second song samples.

Image from @labnol via Flickr.

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