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Apple reverts to 30-second iTunes song previews for new, popular tracks

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
It appears that Apple has recently changed its iTunes Music Store policy regarding song samples, reverting preview times for certain tracks from 90 seconds to the old 30-second standard.


The 30-second preview has been applied to Judas Priest's new release and an older album from Neil Diamond.



The exact timing of Apple's apparent reversion to shorter clips is not clear, though Twitter users have been reporting the change for at least one day. As noted by MacRumors, which first reported on the issue, the switch is affecting a wide variety of titles, including new and popular songs featured by iTunes staff.

Some users have reported the change was performed within the past few hours, with tracks previously eligible for 90-second previews now seeing 30-second time limits.

AppleInsider has confirmed that certain songs over the required time limit are, in fact, playing back 30-second clips. The distribution of shortened previews seems random, however, as a recent release from Trey Songz played for the usual 90 seconds, while Judas Priest's "Redeemer of Souls" album limited playback to 30 seconds. Confusingly, a randomly chosen selection from Neil Diamond also reverted to the old 30-second limit.

Apple first debuted 90-second previews in 2010 for songs longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds sold through the U.S. iTunes Music store.

Without an official announcement from Apple, it is impossible to tell whether the truncated previews are due to an iTunes glitch, or a more comprehensive change in store policy. Another possibility is pressure from record labels that no longer agree with the extended preview time period.

AppleInsider has reached out to Apple for comment on the situation and will update this report when a response is received.
post #2 of 55

A good decision.

 

An average song is what, 3:30 - 4:00 minutes long?

 

90 seconds is too long for a preview. 30 seconds is more than enough time for somebody to make up their mind if they want to buy a song or not. 

 

Should there be free movie previews where 1/3 (30 minutes - 45 minutes) of the film is viewable?:lol: 

post #3 of 55

Frigging media companies.

post #4 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Frigging media companies.

 

I think that you're right, and this decision probably had nothing to do with Apple at all.

post #5 of 55

This is only going to drive more people to internet radio. Or piracy.

What do music companies have to lose? Are they losing sales over 90-second previews?

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post #6 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
 

This is only going to drive more people to internet radio. Or piracy.

What do music companies have to lose? Are they losing sales over 90-second previews?

There's already plenty of piracy and music downloads are down significantly so far in 2014.

 

If I were an artist or label on iTunes, I wouldn't want to have 90 second previews for my songs either.

post #7 of 55
Jimmy Iovine to the rescue!
post #8 of 55
I always thought 30 seconds was too short and 90 seconds longer than it needs to be. How about 60 seconds? How often do hooks typically come in modern songs?

But does any of this really matter? Are people really going to iTunes Store to give a song a partial listen? I just use YouTube and I get to listen to the whole thing, often with a video.

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post #9 of 55
How . . . retro . . .

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post #10 of 55
30 seconds is terrible.
post #11 of 55

I can *maybe* see it being a load issue. That's a 2/3 bandwidth cut on people just sampling tracks. Curious to see what Apple says.

post #12 of 55
Makes no difference what they set the preview length to. We can listen to the entire song for free on Spotify.
post #13 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Makes no difference what they set the preview length to. We can listen to the entire song for free on Spotify.

Spotify has no charge for their music rental service?

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post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

This is only going to drive more people to internet radio. Or piracy.

hand waiving. if you can't tell after 30 seconds you weren't going to buy it.
post #15 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by TitanTiger View Post

30 seconds is terrible.

just awful. Unbearable. I may go drive off a bridge.
post #16 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I always thought 30 seconds was too short and 90 seconds longer than it needs to be. How about 60 seconds? How often do hooks typically come in modern songs?

the samples are usually cut into the middle of the song somewhere.
post #17 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Spotify has no charge for their music rental service?

No, you can listen to as much music as you want for free on the Desktop and tablets, though every 15 to 20 songs they interrupt with a 30 second ad spot, after your song is done playing of course. You pay for premium to get rid of the ads, higher quality though the free service sounds just fine, and the ability of listening to music on your iPhone. Have you seriously not ever use Spotify before, if not you should at least try it once, fantastic service, iTunes Radio can't hold a candle to it. My whole family is on it, has saved me at at least a thousand dollars a year on iTunes purchases.


Edited by Relic - 7/11/14 at 1:09am
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When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
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post #18 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post


just awful. Unbearable. I may go drive off a bridge.

Surprised you haven't done that already from using Apple Maps, I kid, I kid.

 

Siri, "Destination please", "SeaWorld", "calculating, Turn left now"!

 

 

Okay...........

 

 

 

 

Bllluuuup, Bllluuuup, "you have now arrived at your destination", bllluuuup, guuulllppp.

 

"Crap"!


Edited by Relic - 7/11/14 at 1:23am
When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
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When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
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post #19 of 55

I can think of three or four times that a 30 second preview wasn't sufficient. On those occasions I was trying to find a song with a particular passage, and the section chosen for the preview didn't include the part I was listening for. I couldn't tell if I'd picked the wrong song or if the part I wanted just fell outside the preview. This is a particular issue for those of us who don't know anything but Classical music but occasionally hear something somewhere that we'd like to add to our collection. Even for a typical pop song, 30 usually isn't enough to get a verse and a chorus.

 

I've been trying to come up with a good reason for cutting back the length and can't think of one. What's the perceived downside to longer previews? I like 'em.

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post #20 of 55

Why would someone bother to abuse this feature when the full version of the song is available for free on YouTube?

post #21 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post
 

Why would someone bother to abuse this feature when the full version of the song is available for free on YouTube?

Like someone mentioned before, Spotify, best way to listen to entire albums before purchasing.

When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
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post #22 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post

No, you can listen to as much music as you want for free on the Desktop and tablets, though every 15 to 20 songs they interrupt with a 30 second ad spot, after your song is done playing of course. You pay for premium to get rid of the ads, higher quality though the free service sounds just fine, and the ability of listening to music on your iPhone. Have you seriously not ever use Spotify before, if not you should at least try it once, fantastic service, iTunes Radio can't hold a candle to it. My whole family is on it, has saved me at at least a thousand dollars a year on iTunes purchases.

I agree, spottily is great. I get it for free from my ISP, probably some promotion. Or the fact that I've been with them since 1995.

Unfortunately I can't use their web player:

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post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


I agree, spottily is great. I get it for free from my ISP, probably some promotion. Or the fact that I've been with them since 1995.

Unfortunately I can't use their web player:

They have a desktop app as well.

When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
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post #24 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post

They have a desktop app as well.

Just downloaded that, enjoying it now. Tnx
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post #25 of 55

Songs that people on other forums say are 30s are still 90s for me, so it's all very confusing.

post #26 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

A good decision.

 

An average song is what, 3:30 - 4:00 minutes long?

 

90 seconds is too long for a preview. 30 seconds is more than enough time for somebody to make up their mind if they want to buy a song or not. 

 

Should there be free movie previews where 1/3 (30 minutes - 45 minutes) of the film is viewable?:lol: 

Not at all the same. When a movie is released, they don't play it all day every day for free. 

post #27 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I always thought 30 seconds was too short and 90 seconds longer than it needs to be. How about 60 seconds? How often do hooks typically come in modern songs?

But does any of this really matter? Are people really going to iTunes Store to give a song a partial listen? I just use YouTube and I get to listen to the whole thing, often with a video.

That's so true, there is often official full length versions on Youtube!

I was reading an article the other day about the history of music and it mentioned that we have come full circle. In history, there was the live music, almost from when time began ... then not that long ago musicians and their 'industry' found ways to make money without playing live; it all started sheet music then onto player piano rolls, wax records, vinyl records, cassettes, CDs, digital downloads and lastly streaming ... and now ... the artists are back to having to play live to make money.
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post #28 of 55
The more of a song you review the least likely you are to buy it! Unlesss you like it of course!

That's why all this streaming is detrimental to both physical and online sales.

There were many times I bought a single on iTunes after listening only the 30 seconds but then I realised I didn't like it after purchase!

I hope they don't go back to 30 seconds although I suppose there's always Spotify ...
post #29 of 55
Can't confirm that for iTunes Switzerland on the iPhone. All previews of the mentioned albums are still 90 seconds long.
post #30 of 55
to the "man" that said "friggin media companies", you expect everything to be free?, what incentive is there to produce creative work if one cannot be paid for it, everyone has to put food on the table., c'mon I dare you to come up with an argument why not, tallest skil? If you can't why don't you quit the stupid knee jerk reaction drivel you post.

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post #31 of 55

A lot of the shit released today is so repetitive that you could probably build the entire song from a 90 second clip.

post #32 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul94544 View Post

to the "man" that said "friggin media companies", you expect everything to be free?, what incentive is there to produce creative work if one cannot be paid for it, everyone has to put food on the table., c'mon I dare you to come up with an argument why not, tallest skil? If you can't why don't you quit the stupid knee jerk reaction drivel you post.

Even 90 seconds with of song isn't "giving it away for free". It's not the whole song, it's a taster.

Tasters should be free to get people interested in purchasing the full priced product.

 

Apple may have been asked/told to reduce the previews or they may have done it to reduce bandwidth or save them or us data.

It may be dependent on your internet connection, we don't know.

 

If Tallest Skil wanted everything to be free, he wouldn't be an Apple fan.

post #33 of 55
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post
A lot of the shit released today is so repetitive that you could probably build the entire song from a 90 second clip.

 

Obligatory.

 

 

And then these two ARE the exact same song:


Edited by Tallest Skil - 7/11/14 at 10:58am
post #34 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

Obligatory.

 

Funny and so true, that video sums up every Christmas Eve party that I have ever thrown. Always, and I mean always resulted it me putting on impromptu concert turned Karaoke session for my guests with exactly those type of songs in that video. Hey Relic grab your keyboard, no, oh come on, ugh, then I start playing Beethoven just to piss them off, noooo play something from Fleetwood Mac, no U2, no the Cure, fu**! My parents always told me that it was important to learn an instrument as it makes an individual smarter and more cultured, little did they know those gifts would just be wasted on drunk friends who aren't very smart or cultured.

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post #35 of 55
Originally Posted by Relic View Post

My parents always told me that it was important to learn an instrument as it makes an individual smarter and more cultured, little did they know those gifts would just be wasted on drunk friends who aren't very smart or cultured.

 

I did NOT spend my childhood learning to play the piano just so some dork could tell me to “do coldplay”. :lol:

 

And no, I did not learn how to play the saxophone to be able to Carelessly Whisper girls’ undergarments off.

post #36 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Frigging media companies.

This has nothing to do with the media companies.  Why on earth would they care about 30 vs 90 second previews?  This is about Apple trying out the shorter previews to see if A) people even care and B) save on bandwidth costs if they don't.

post #37 of 55
Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post
This has nothing to do with the media companies.  Why on earth would they care about 30 vs 90 second previews?

 

“Why on earth would the companies that sell content based on a lack of knowledge about it want to limit the knowledge of that content?”

 

Really?

 
This is about Apple trying out the shorter previews to see if A) people even care and B) save on bandwidth costs if they don’t.

 

SO WHY DID THEY BOTHER WITH THE NEGOTIATIONS TO GET LONGER PREVIEWS IN THE FIRST PLACE. Think things through.

post #38 of 55
I called Apple APP yesterday when I noticed this, and they didn't have a clue. Personally I have made considerably more purchases based on the 90 second previews, since they seem to be so arbitrary in regard to what part of the song you hear. At 30 seconds, I dismissed way more than at 90 seconds.

Big mistake, I hope they do something about this.
post #39 of 55
30 seconds is not long enough to get a feel of the artist's ability to write decent songs. Maybe you get a glimpse of a bridge or chorus, but you can't get a decent idea of if the album is really worth buying with only 30 seconds of songs not played on the radio, that you've never heard, and are looking to purchase. IF iTunes Radio with a match subscription would allow full streaming of songs like spotify or another service, then I could see limiting non-paid previews to 30 seconds.
post #40 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

...But does any of this really matter? Are people really going to iTunes Store to give a song a partial listen? I just use YouTube and I get to listen to the whole thing, often with a video.

 

Exactly why the 360 deals that Iovine is familiar with come into play. He'll get more cross-promotional activity going on to make up for the loss on the music (I refer to things like the Beyonce video/music release that was a recent iTunes exclusive, and the Beats promotions using licensed properties).

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GOA

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GOA

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