High-quality design and simplicity of use are expected to be the hallmarks of the new digital music service from Apple Computer, to be unveiled Monday (April 28).
Label sources mention that the service is an a la carte download store — not unlike that of rival Liquid Audio — that is built into Apple’s iTunes player. No subscription is required for the service, and tracks are expected to retail for an average of 99 cents. Once purchased, tracks are transferred to the consumer’s iTunes music library and are automatically synched to the user’s iPod portable player.
Content can also be burned to CD. Credit-card information is stored on file in the store’s shopping-cart system so the consumer does not have to re-enter the information for each purchase. The offering is expected to be made available initially only to users of Apple computers.
As part of its announcement, Apple is expected to unveil content-licensing deals with all five major labels. The Apple service is also expected to feature music from high-profile acts whose repertoire has not previously been available for digital distribution.