Buying music on iTunes may sound like an easy task. However, there can be some decisions to make before clicking that buy button. Here are some tips to consider when buying music on iTunes so that you don’t waste your money.


Buy Remastered Music

Older music that was originally recorded on tape or analog media is usually remastered for better quality sound. Since several copies of a particular song may exist on iTunes, it is important to listen to each preview carefully to determine which one sounds the best. Here are some things to listen for when comparing a song that is not marked as remastered:

  • Treble and bass response (should be crisp and clear, bass should stand out)
  • Dynamic range (variation in the volume, should not be flat/dynamically compressed)
  • Loudness (Remastered songs are usually louder compared to their original releases)

Note: A good speaker setup is required for best results and accurate comparison. A high quality 2.1 (two speakers + sub woofer) setup is recommended.


Buying The Right Version
Different versions of a song might exist on iTunes. They can include album version, single version, radio version/edit, explicit, clean, etc.

Single versions are usually album versions that have been edited for time, though sometimes can contain a different mix of music. Radio versions/edits can also be edited for time, but for content also. Because of the 1:30 preview that iTunes provides, it’s sometimes not enough to determine if the song you’ll be buying is the version that you want. A good way to verify is to take note of the song’s playing time and do a search for the song on YouTube. Find a video with a playing time that’s the same or close to the desired song on iTunes. Listen to the song on YouTube as it can help you take note of any time edits. If time edits are present and you want a “fuller” version, repeat the process comparing another song on iTunes with a longer playing time.

Explicit and clean versions of songs can also be hard to compare due to the 1:30 preview. iTunes usually has explicit markings on songs to warn buyers of inappropriate content, but that may not always be the case with clean versions. If you want to verify a clean version of a song, you can try searching for the song on YouTube by adding “clean” in the search box.


Buy Your Music When It’s On Sale

iTunes occasionally marks some popular music down to 69 cents, which is half of the original price. The discounts happen several times a year and usually last for 2 weeks. When another sale occurs, different songs are marked down, though it is possible for songs previously marked down to go on sale again in the future. If you don’t mind waiting for a song to go on sale, you can add it to your wish list. Check your wish list next time iTunes has a 69 cent sale to see if your music is marked down.

Note: When a song does go on sale, it is usually selected from a single album. This makes it difficult if you are looking for a particular version (described above) as the hosting album is either picked at random or by agreement from the record company. There’s a small chance that a song might be discounted on multiple albums, resulting in one that contains the version you are looking for.

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