When I installed iTunes 4 last night I could not access Apple's new Music Store. This morning it works so, among all kind of warnings saying that I'm not in the U.S., I've been able to browse the new archive.
I did not spent much time in the store, but I did not find one single song that I would have liked to buy. 200.000 songs are a lot, and I'm sure that there's plenty of music I would like to have, it's just that I have not found it yet. Most probably somebody could help me finding something I like.
This leads to a major missing feature on the store: links. Apparently the store is not much more than a web site you have to navigate using a browser embedded in the new version of iTunes (maybe this is another good reason for Safari). Still there is no URL to copy and paste.
In today's "two-way,bloggin',social,you-know-what-I-mean" web this is simply crazy. Thousands of bloggers could start pointing to specific songs on the Apple Store, I would have expected a "Post This Song" button at the top of the page, but nothing, there's no easy way for me to publish a link to a specific song. I think that this should be addressed asap.
iTunes 4 comes with a bunch of new features, not only access to the Music Store. For example you can associate the album cover's image to a song. As usual it is beautifully implemented: all you have to do is find the image and drag and drop it from the browser window to iTunes window. Album covers images can be easily found on Amazon and Google Images. Since both sites have open APIs, I guess that there will soon be a script to automate this process (also if Apple is now technically an Amazon competitor and searching on google images does not guarantee 100% accurate results).
Also if it can, and it will, be improved, I see the Apple Music Store as a step forward. We all loved Napster, but it could not work for free. Apple is trying to find a solution and I think that if we want the music on-line business to go one step forward we need to support this effort. This is why we should buy some music on the Apple Music Store even if it's not exactly our favourite: if they are successful more majors and artists will join, possibly also our favourite ones.