Instead of tunes that were able to dodge the traditional commercially oriented gatekeepers by being attached to other tunes that did follow the rules of the game, each individual iTunes will be subject to the pressures of mass appeal. Consumers will likely purchase songs they know from radio, and thus become subject to the whims of programmers who are governed by commercial, not artistic, interests. iTunes allows a 30-second preview of songs, but we know that some of the best tunes don’t even get going in that time. The 30-second preview just reinforces the need for each tune to be catchy and pleasing right up front.[Salon.com Technology | iTunes — the “i” doesn’t stand for innovation]
Maybe, maybe not. I can’t say I agree with this perspective at all. There are benefits to both sides of the coin here. It is now easy for listeners to find and buy and listen to tracks and albums without even leaving home – legally. It’s all about choice – whether you want the whole album or just a song or two.
Personally I am an album buyer, though I have (disclosure) yet to buy anything from the iTunes Music Store. I find the experience is very similar to what you find in physical retail… You can sample some (either full or pieces) and buy either singles (from their section) or full albums.