Apple Plans iTunes Music Preview Increase

Apple plans to increase the length of iTunes music previews in the United States from 30 to 90 seconds. Apple is battling fiercely against Google Android, RIM and others.

Apple plans to increase the length of its iTunes music previews from 30 to 90 seconds for songs longer than 2 minutes 30 seconds, according to a new online report.

"We are pleased to let you know we are preparing to increase the length of music previews from 30 seconds to 90 seconds on the iTunes store in the United States," reads a letter sent from Apple to various music labels, according to Mashable. "We believe that giving potential customers more time to listen to your music will lead to more purchases."

Apple later confirmed the news with eWEEK.

As the pipeline for multimedia content to Apple devices, the iTunes service represents a vital part of the company's ecosystem. Recent updates to iTunes include Ping, a social network devoted to music. In theory, that service leverages iTunes' 160 million registered users, allowing them to share information about their favorite artists, songs and albums.

Soon after Ping's September unveiling, pundits debated the service's potential effect on streaming-radio services such as But with a broader expansion in content or focus, Ping could also serve as a potential beachhead for Apple into more traditional social networking.

An expansion in the number of Apple mobile devices also boosts iTunes' user base. During an Oct. 18 earnings call, Apple CEO Steve Jobs insisted that his company is activating a daily average of 270,000 devices running iOS.

For its most recent quarter, Apple posted revenues of $20.34 billion and a net quarterly profit of $4.31 billion on sales of 14.1 million iPhones, 9.05 million iPods and 3.89 million Macs. The company also sold 4.19 million iPads.

During that same call, Apple focused on its mobile products' expansion into the enterprise space, the traditional realm of other platforms such as Research In Motion's BlackBerry. The company claims a higher percentage of the Fortune 500 now accepts the iPhone as part of their IT infrastructure.

"We've now passed RIM, and I don't see them catching up with us in the immediate future," Jobs told analysts and media during the earnings call. "I think it's going to be a challenge for them to create a competitive platform. ... With 300,000 apps in Apple's App Store, RIM has a high mountain to climb." Jobs also fired a broadside at Google, suggesting Android device activations lagged behind those for Apple.

However, a new report from comScore suggests that RIM holds 40.1 percent of the U.S. smartphone operating system space, compared with Apple with 24.3 percent and Google Android with 21.4 percent. Android's current market share represents a 6.5 percent gain from the prior quarter.