US iTunes gets first taste of 90 second previews

Apple has started to roll out 90 second previews of some songs on its US iTunes store.

The world's biggest music retailer originally announced that it would be offering longer previews way back in September but was stopped in its tracks my music industry lawyers who thought they could weasel a bit more cash out of the Cupertino company by insisting the 90 second clips would need a performance licence.

It's not clear what the outcome of the negotiations were, other than a fattening of the lawyers' wallets, but Apple told the music industry to put up or shut up back at the beginning of November.

The startling ultimatum basically said, we're going to be offering 90 second clips of your music in the very near future. If you don't like it, take your tracks with you and don't let the door hit you in the buttocks on your way out. Or words to that effect.

As it turns out Big Music looks like it has decided not to bite the hand that feeds it because if a company of any standing had withdrawn from iTunes we would certainly have heard about it.

The longer clips on the US site are few and far between as we speak but are expected to grow over the coming months.

Apple has given us no inkling of when or even if the longer samples will hit the UK iTunes Store but you can rest assured we'll let you know when they do.

In the meantime, we'll just have to be content with 30 seconds of tuneage while Apple's lawyers go through another bout of tedious ructions with the UK music industry's legal teams.