Download debate

Rosalind Yang

It seems just about everyone is jumping on the iTunes bandwagon. Time Magazine just named Apple’s new Music Store the best invention of 2003. But how does the program affect smaller bands?

Chicago-area indie-rock band Cactrot says iTunes will alter the way bands deliver their music to fans.

“Getting music into people’s hands and getting them to want to listen to it is like pushing a stack of boxes through a brick wall,” said Cactrot drummer Ted Burgess, a sophomore at Northern Illinois University.

Apple currently offers songs through their online music store from all five major record companies and 200 independent labels. But will this help indie bands promote their music?

“Smaller bands that are signed on indie labels can be helped out a lot by iTunes” said the band’s bassist, Steve Lorence, a sophomore at the University of Illinois. “It’s another avenue for people to hear their music, and that’s never a bad thing.”

On the other hand, Lorence said, “Small bands with no label, such as our current situation, can pretty much count iTunes out.”

Burgess however, was dubious of iTunes’ ability to help at all. “People know what they want to buy when they are in the iTunes store. They aren’t going to waste money…on [bands] they know nothing about.”

“I think we’d prefer the traditional method of selling CDs at shows,” said Burgess. “We play at shows, we shamelessly self-promote and we sell merchandise. That’s what it’s all about.”

Cactrot also shed light on iTunes nuances.

“The interface rocks ass” said Lorence. One advantage the iTunes player has over other players is its ability to organize songs by album or by artist. Players such as Winamp usually put songs in alphabetical order.

“I am a pretty avid computer user and I really wasn’t amazed by iTunes,” Burgess countered. “It rips CDs and burns them in the [application] itself, but that isn’t anything to make me crap over.”

iTunes is good for more than just streaming music from another user’s music library.

“I found a bunch of stuff that I wanted off of somebody’s library,” said Lorence. “A couple of days later…we swapped songs. And now we talk regularly. So I got some songs and made a friend.”