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iTunes rolling out 90-second song previews

updated 03:45 am EST, Thu December 9, 2010

Not available on all songs or albums yet

Apple has started extending the previews listeners get when they sample a song to 90 seconds, up from the previous 30 seconds. The longer previews, meant to stimulate buying by giving customers a better sense of the whole work, have been in the works for some time but were said to have been delayed by hesitance from smaller labels and demands for improved royalties.

The longer previews are not available on all songs -- as promised, songs shorter than two minutes, thirty seconds retain the old 30-second preview. The longer previews appear to be only dependent on the length of the original song, even working with free downloads like (currently) Duran Duran's new single, All You Need is Now.

Mainstream major label releases, Beatles tracks as well as indie labels mostly seem to have the longer previews on qualifying songs, but a random search of the iTunes Store did find occasional albums that do not use the longer previews, suggesting that some labels or artists have not yet given permission for the longer samples.

by MacNN Staff




  1. Barumph

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Meh, might be exciting for the Justin Bieber fans. You can listen to the entire song on Bandcamp. And you can download in several different formats (including lossless ALAC or FLAC). And you can buy also the CD or vinyl, with the download as the "instant gratification". Still waiting to see how you can get a limited edition or an autographed digital file.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The longer previews, meant to stimulate buying by giving customers a better sense of the whole work,

    So is that implying music sales are falling flat?

    And I wonder if there's been any study of how many users actually buy songs completely based off the sample, not "I was searching for this or that, listened to make sure it was right, and then bought". You know, you're on the Bieber page, you see the link that says "People who bought this also bought Iggy Pop" You click the link, go, "Hmmm, what does this sound like", listen, and go "Man, that's great. I'm buying it!"

  1. JackWebb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Very good move

    This is a very good move. In the beginning I would buy based on 30-sec samples but got burned many times and stopped depending on that. For the past 3 years I used other methods like listening to the whole thing in Rhapsody but they don't have the inventory that iTunes Store has. Many songs such as in Trance will take a while to ramp up and this may not even do it but at least it has a much better chance. Even better, there is a UK online store ( that actually allows you to look at the waveform and choose which section to preview.

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