iTunes needs better previews

A person stands in its computer browsing for new songs to listen, she happens to open iTunes and checks her favorite artist. Their last album had one of the best singles ever and she’s curious on what’s in store on the rest of the album, and is good to know that she will be using 30 seconds previews of the songs to make her next purchase decisions.  The problem is that any of the song feel right, they’re not “that good”. What about the song that she heard at the radio or at a friend’s house? its supposed to be on this, their newest album but still, can’t find it anywhere.

iTunes Previews Screenshot

Sweet previews!, which one is it again?

This might have occurred to you, but although previews are an awesome feature they require author control. Like promotional video, the cover of the album or even the shows, the artist executes a certain control on the whole process to archive what is desired in terms of entertainment or even art. None the less, previews on iTunes are either created automatically or by some people behind the scenes, not the actual artist, so who decides what’s there? Who decides what’s the most important or identifiable part of a song?

Like movie trailers can make you decide if you are going to watch a movie, this previews do the same. It’s extremely important that this continues evolving, favoring the artist and indirectly, the consumer.

Simple solution for this Apple: let the artist select if they want iTunes to generate the preview for them or let them customize it to their liking. How? Let them input the portions of the song they want to use as preview. Of course there are many ways to do this, by manually putting time or by having and simple editor that lets the author select the portion in an interactive way and preview it before sending it, and even letting the artist upload pre-authored previews. Not only this solves the problem, but artist can plan in advance for this kind of previews while they are in the studio and record it in a proper way. An example of this would be that the artist creates a very simplified rehearsal of the song, or an edited portion that actually highlights the signature moments of it.

One minor complaint on the awesome experience that digital distribution provides us, and by keeping the artist happy they will provide better content and the final users will benefit from it, and of course, your company. We need to keep evolving!