It’s been rumored for months and now the change seems to be imminent: Apple will expand the preview length of songs in iTunes from 30 seconds to 90 seconds. It’s been reported that Apple has begun to inform music labels of the change and the longer clips will begin appearing in iTunes sometime in the near future.
The decision was revealed in a letter to record labels posted on MacRumors. It’s not clear if the decision to lengthen the previews was initiated by Apple or at the request of music labels themselves. The letter does state, however, that record companies accept the change by continuing to offer their music on iTunes. We’re guessing that means that they don’t have an option of sticking with the original 30-second preview and the only way to avoid accepting the longer previews is by withdrawing music catalogs from iTunes completely.
The move is likely an effort to boost iTunes music sales by giving customers a larger sampling. (Maybe the thinking is along the lines of “hearing the chorus of Lady GaGa’s “Telephone” once clearly wasn’t enough for some customers, but who can resist forking over $1.29 after hearing it two times?)
You will be disappointed if you think that the extended previews mean that you can get away with listening to a large chunk of a Ramone’s album for free. The 90-second previews will only apply to songs over two and a half minutes. Songs under that length will continue to be previewed in 30-second clips.