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Apple Will Extend iTunes Song Previews to 90 Seconds

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Apple believes it has the key to keep the digital music market alive and kicking: longer previews in iTunes.

The leaders in MP3 market contacted record labels that it will be extending 30-second song previews to 90 seconds on tracks longer than two and a half minutes. Tracks that fall below that time will keep the 30-second previews. (Sorry, Guided by Voices.)

In a company email, Apple wrote:
We are pleased to let you know that we are preparing to increase the length of music previews from 30 seconds to 90 seconds on the iTunes Store in the United States. We believe that giving potential customers more time to listen to your music will lead to more purchases.

All you have to do is continue making your content available on the iTunes Store, which will confirm your acceptance of the terms.
Apple also wrote that by keeping their music in the iTunes Store, record labels are indicating their acceptance of the changeover. Otherwise, labels must remove their music from the online marketplace -- an unlikely move, given the runaway success of the business.

Still, it all seems pretty inconsequential. YouTube, Pandora, MTV Online, and countless other streaming sites offer tracks in their entirety -- often accompanied by the video. And what those can't offer, MP3 blogs fill in the rest.

At any rate, it's nice that Apple threw music fans a bone -- even if they're already tucking into a trough full of raw meat.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.