Music fans browsing iTunes' virtual aisles can now enjoy longer song previews: Apple has extended sample clips from 30 to 90 seconds on select tracks for listeners throughout the United States, effective immediately. Changes apply only to songs longer than two and a half minutes, and those from specific artists such as Ke$ha ("We R Who We R") and Bruno Mars ("Just the Way You Are").
Rival online retailers' previews typically max out at 30 to 45 seconds, with updates reflecting Apple's growing stranglehold on digital distribution and power to dictate terms to record industry players. While extended previews of lengthier tracks like Metallica's "One" may seem negligible, the ability to enjoy over half of shorter songs such as The Beatles' "Octopus's Garden" is pioneering for free music trials.
Apple's plans to introduce similar changes on September 1st were scrapped due to licensing issues, despite research suggesting that longer song samples result in more music purchases. Shorter songs will continue to be offered in the prior 30-second preview format, as will random other exceptions.