• United States
by Ann Harrison

Apple breaks playlist sharing

Jun 03, 20032 mins
AppleEnterprise ApplicationsiTunes

* Apple disables playlist sharing in latest iTunes release

File sharing enthusiasts may want to think twice before upgrading their iTunes digital music player software. Apple, the company that supposedly likes to “Think Different,” followed completely predictable thinking and disabled its playlist sharing feature in the latest release of the iTunes software.

Version 4.0.1, which can be downloaded through the Software Update system preference pane, offers performance and network enhancement plus support for Dolby Advanced Audio Codec (AAC). But it only permits music sharing between computers using iTunes 4.0.1 or later on a LAN in the same subnet.

The former version of the software enabled iTunes 4.0 users to share each other’s playlists over the Internet. You could give another user from anywhere access to your playlist by entering their IP address in the Advanced Menu’s “Connect to Shared Music” option. 

The 4.0 version offered no in-built way for iTunes users to download one another’s music files. Third party software was needed to record the remote stream and download files off the play list. The fact that this feature was seen as such a potential piracy threat contradicted the evident success of Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

Nobody who is paying attention to file trading should have assumed for a second that the iTunes store was going to replace file trading network. But it did demonstrate that even if users had the ability to download free files off a playlist – or Kazaa – they were still willing to purchased authorized music files for a price.

The iTunes store has certainly made it easier to purchase online music. Version 4.0.1 moves this ball forward by supporting direct browsing and purchasing from the store. But dumbing down the software’s ability to allowing sharing of any kind of data shows that Apple is willing to offer users a lesser product in order to make nice with the entertainment industry.