Apple announces online music service

TR reader Jim Vaughn tipped me off that Apple has announced its online music service, which will be limited to Mac users in the US initially, but spread to other countries and even to Windows users by year's end. Over 200,000 songs are apparently available from five major labels, including exclusive content from the likes of Bob Dylan, U2, and others. Tracks can also be burned to CD an unlimited number of times, played on an unlimited number of iPods, and streamed to up to three different Macs.

Individual tracks will be available for $0.99 each, which isn't all that cheap. Still, Apple's music service won't be subscription-based, so users will only need to pay for the tracks they actually want.

Of course, no Apple announcement would be complete without an appearance by the Reality Distortion Field. Jobs claimed that some of the downloadable tracks sound "better than CDs," which would be quite a feat. Jobs also had this to say:

"We think that when you come to the site, you'll fall in love with music all over again and want to spend some money,"
To entice consumers away from what are essentially free and unlimited downloads from peer-to-peer networks like Kazaa, the RDF may need to take on more hypnotic qualities. Even with unlimited burning and iPod listening, can $1/track compete with free (but illegal) MP3 downloads?
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