The recent explosion in Internet song swapping presented the recording industry with a paradoxical challenge: to stop music lovers from freely trading files over the Internet, while trying to make money themselves by selling copyprotected music online. The early attempts, backed by the major record companies, featured a monthly fee, a puny song catalog, and no ability to burn the bought music to CDs or save it onto music players. What a deal!
Needless to say, people stayed away in droves. The free (and free-form) world of KaZaA, LimeWire, and similar file-trading services were much more attractive.
Then Apple took a whack at it. In April 2003, the iTunes Music Store debuted, an online component of iTunes that scored the hat trick that other companies had yet to achieve: digital audio downloads that were easy, cheap, anddrum roll, pleaselegal. Here's a look inside the store, and how to shop it.