I always resist change, but sometimes you have to explore new options in the marketplace so I thought I’d give Apple iTunes a go. I installed it last night and played for about 30 minutes and then after discovering that it wouldn’t play .OGG files, essential for someone who has most of their CDs ripped as OGGs promptly uninstalled it.

Today, I went back to my favorite player, xmplay, and decided that I didn’t think the quality was as clear as iTunes… so I decided to investigate whether you could play OGG files any other way through iTunes. Fortunately, this site came to my rescue: QuickTime Components Project, and following downloading a ZIP file, installing the files in the C:\Windows\System32\QuickTime folder and reloading iTunes appeared to enable it to play OGG files. Usable enough to play some more…

One neat thing about iTunes I found is that you can turn off the Store in the options, making it a standalone player. This is especially important to me because I have never bought music online other than CDs. I love the concept of instant access music, but some changes need to take place before I’d buy:

– Either the file I download needs to be the exact, lossless copy of the CD track, unprotected so I can copy it to any PC, run on linux, re-encode and play on mp3 players etc
– Or stores must allow multiple (unlimited) downloads once I have purchased the file, so I can download to any of my PCs and copy around etc.

My view is if I’ve bought it, it’s mine. If I reinstall my PC once a year, I should be able to get the track back, just as I could re-insert the CD and rip it back. Sadly the Apple music store only allows 1 download and 5 copies when you buy a track. No where near flexible enough, but no big deal since CDs will do until someone catches up with the fact that I’d probably buy twice as many tracks online as I would CDs from stores…

Back to iTunes, the radio feature is pretty neat. Many totally free radio stations instantly accessible from your desktop. This feature may be what keeps it installed, that and my perceived better playback quality (which is of course subjective, and may just be an equaliser setup that better suits my laptop.)

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