Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Have Been to the Desert

Okay. I can report now. I have the Amazon music store open in another tab. I've been playing with it for a few minutes now. It's more like browsing Amazon than like using iTunes. That's a huge difference. The site is not as eye-pleasing as iTunes either. Clunky interface, by comparison. Very 1999.

It has albums ranging in price from under five to over nine bucks. I might buy a few albums at that price. Except that trying to find something I like amidst all the dross is a tough slog. There are big pictures of the albums with little hard-to-read type underneath on a vast page of bright white. That's hard work; very un-iTunes like.

I'll try searching for individual tracks. Hmm. They have some Eric Burdon and some Manfred Mann, but you can't sort by artist or album or song title, and there's a lot of other garbage in the mix. "Clapton" brings up over 300 entries, a lot of which are Eric Clapton, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Derek and the Dominoes, Blind Faith; then there are a bunch of tribute and karaoke things in the mix. It's all a random jumble. If you're looking for a song, you can type in a song; you get a bunch of versions of the song in the same random un-sortable order. It would be nice to sort the columns.

There are no Weird Al Yankovic albums. A bunch of karaoke crap and some album with the words "30 years before Weird Al Yankovic" in the title. No WAY. That's a showstopper.

I typed in "The Eagles." 2286 songs. In the first three pages I looked at, "The Eagles" do not show up under artist even one time. Just in case you think it's flukey, a search for "Stan Getz" produced 850 results and in every one of them the artist column included Stan Getz on six different pages. That's cool. I might go comparison shop some of that.

A search for Stevie Ray Vaughan produced a bluegrass tribute album and a couple of "in the style of" SRV karaoke tracks. So far I've done about a dozen searches. Stan Getz is the only success I've had. It looks like the record companies are pussy-footing their way into the game. That's a shame for them. The way they'll discover they don't belong on this playing field is that they will be carried off on a litter.

The Amazon music store combines the convenience of plodding through a huge web site with the visual aesthetic of a t-shirt catalog and a selection that will send you straight back to iTunes looking for a song.

This one is stillborn.

The pisser is that all the people who hope Amazon's music store will succeed are going to blame Apple's "monopolistic practices" for its demise. Nobody will figure out that the reason is that Apple is just doing what consumers want, the way consumers want it, and looking cool doing it, and the Amazon store is just a mediocre FTP site with album art.

I wonder if there's anymore ice cream.