Apple is preparing to roll out longer song samples in the iTunes Store, up to 90 seconds, according to reports. The move would triple the current length of 30-second preview clips, a decision Apple probably hopes will boost sales. While this could be a great move for consumers, some labels might pull their content off the iTunes Store, as Apple's decision to increase song samples is opt-out, not opt-in.
iTunes Store users in the United States will be able to preview 90-second clips of songs over 2 minutes 30 seconds long, while any song shorter than that will continue to have 30-second preview clips. Apple is pressing labels to conform to the move, or pull their music from the iTunes Store, the largest of its kind in the world.
"We believe that giving potential customers more time to listen to your music will lead to more purchases," reads a letter obtained by MacRumors that Apple sent to music labels, alerting them of the change. "All you have to do is continue making your content available on the iTunes Store, which will confirm your acceptance of the terms," the letter continued.
In February 2010, Apple announced it sold more than 10 billion songs from the iTunes Store since its inception, over a quarter of all music sold in the United States, according to NPD research. In the digital downloads market alone, the iTunes Store controls 70 percent of digital music sales, giving Apple some leverage when it comes to negotiating with music labels.
Longer song previews from the iTunes Store could also mean that Apple is closer to putting iTunes in the cloud, suggests TechCrunch's MG Siegler. The move, widely speculated for almost two years, has never come to fruition. However, if Apple can stream 90 seconds of a song before you buy it, it pretty much has the technical solution to stream the entire song to you on demand.
Will 90-second iTunes Store previews help you better pick which songs to buy? Sound off in the comments.