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Yesterday it hit me, how much I depend on the ITunes music store to buy new music. Being a big fan of Thievery Corporation, I could not wait for their new album, The Outernationalist. It was not available on ITunes so I decided to visit the […]

Yesterday it hit me, how much I depend on the ITunes music store to buy new music. Being a big fan of Thievery Corporation, I could not wait for their new album, The Outernationalist. It was not available on ITunes so I decided to visit the Virgin MegaStore in San Francisco. What struck me as odd was how few people were in the store. I remember a few months ago, you would go to the store and it would be packed with people. People just buying music all the time. All I could see were empty aisles and store packed with really crappy merchandise like Ben Sherman shirts, boom-boxes ugly enough to make me shudder and CD-MP3 players.

Walking through the store, I realized why I had become dependent on the ITunes store. Quick search means not have to walk the aisles looking for an album, only to discover that it is not in pop, but in dance music section, two flights up. Or getting detailed information on the group, samples to make my mind before plunking down the hard earned dollars. Or the fact that CDs cost almost $4 bucks more than full albums in digital formats. The irony of the situation was that the Apple store which is bang opposite Virgin store was full of people, most drawn to the IPod display. Made me think twice, perhaps digital music is the new and the only way of buying music, while Virgin is so hideously analog!

Buy Outernational Sound
(IPod Icon courtesy of Daniel Counsell/Xicons)

By Om Malik

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  1. Hey, kudos to you & your site. Just wanted to say in response to this: the cover art, the cover art! Before the advent of the music video, there was the album cover art, which, if you are an audiophile, or even a design head, is part of the pleasure in the purchase. I just got a Powerbook last month and I’m sure it’s a matter of time before I use the I tunes music store to buy music, but for now, I still like browsing for music I’m new to by its cover.

    Ranjani

    ps – Virgin is hideous for other reasons.

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  2. ranjani, thanks for the comments and your kind words. i have to say the single biggest problem right now with record stores is the time you waste looking for the right album. by the way i think there is that other aspect you bring up – now you can download cover art with the album/tracks in ITunes, so it is simpler to print the labels should I need them for the CD Collection

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