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Getting the Goods

Now that you have an account and can find your way around The Store, it's time to stop manhandling the merchandise and actually buy something. You'll be amazed by how easy (and addictive) this can be.

The Pick-and-pay Method

The pick-and-pay method is akin to going to a record store, picking up a CD, taking it to the counter, purchasing the disc, returning to thestore to pick another CD, purchasing it, going back to the store once again, and…well, you get the idea. You pay as you go. This is how The Store operates by default. Pick-and-pay works this way:

Pick your Poison (or Prince, P-Funk, or Procol Harum).

Using any of the methods I suggested earlier, locate a song or album that you desperately need to own.

Click the Buy Song or Buy Album button.

To purchase a song, click the Buy Song entry in the Price column that appears in iTunes' main window. To purchase an album, look in the first pane of the browser and then click the Buy Album button. The price of your purchase is listed next to each of these buttons. As I wrote earlier, songs are priced at around $1, and single albums go for around $10 on average.

At times, you can't download an entire album. Instead, The Store may list a partial album—one from which you can purchase only individual songs.

Enter your Apple ID or AOL screen name and password in the resulting window.

Should you not want to see this window in the future, check the Remember Password for Purchasing check box.

If you've forgotten your password, click the Forgot Password? button. When you do, you'll be taken to a secure page on Apple's Web site that offers you two options: have Apple email your password to you, or ask Apple to display the hint that you entered when you signed up for your account. This procedure works the same whether you're seeking the password for your Apple ID or AOL account.

Click the Buy button (Figure 4.22).

Figure 4.22. The Store allows you to cancel a purchase before you download a song, unless you disable this warning.

Just to make sure you weren't kidding around when you clicked the Buy button, a new window asks you to confirm your intention to make your purchase. Should you care to banish this window forevermore, check the Don't Warn Me About Buying (Songs/Albums) Again check box.

If you've decided not to purchase the song or album, click Cancel and go on with your life.

Click the Buy button again.

The song or album you purchased begins downloading, and your credit card is charged for your purchase. As each song downloads, it appears in the Purchased Music playlist, accessible from iTunes' Source window. The progress of the download is displayed at the top of the iTunes window.

Altering Your Account

If you have an Apple ID and care to change your account or credit-card information, view an accounting of your online music purchases, or reset the warnings iTunes issues when you're about to purchase music, follow these steps:

Launch iTunes 4, and choose Music Store from the Source list.

Sign into The Store.

Click the Account button in the top-right corner of the iTunes window (the clear button that contains your Apple ID or AOL screen name).

Enter your password in the resulting window.

Click the View Account button.

In the Apple Account Information window that appears, you'll see a series of buttons: Edit Account Info (this button does not appear if you're using an AOL account), Edit Credit Card, Purchase History, Manage iMixes (this button doesn't appear if you haven't created an iMix), Gift Certificates, Setup Allowance, and Reset Warnings (Figure 4.23). For the most part, these buttons are self-explanatory. (I detail iMixes, gift certificates, and allowances earlier in this chapter.)

Figure 4.23. You can edit your account information and view your purchase history in this window, as well as access Gift Certificate and Allowances options.

If you find that you're a little too enamored of shopping at The Store, it's not a bad idea to click the Purchase History button every so often. In the Purchase History window, you'll see the details of your last purchase, along with an overview of earlier purchases—though no total for all your purchases (which, given the condition of your heart and/or your pocket book, may be a good thing).

The Shopping-cart Method

If you intend to bulk up your music library significantly in a single shopping session, you might find the pick-and-pay method tedious. The Store offers an alternative—piling all your music into a single shopping cart and checking out in one fell swoop. To do so, follow these steps:

Choose Preferences from the iTunes menu on your Mac or the Edit menu on your PC.

Click the Store icon in the resulting window.

Select the Buy Using a Shopping Cart option.

Click OK to dismiss the window.

A Shopping Cart entry appears in iTunes' Source list.

Whirl around The Store until you find a song or album you want to purchase.

The buttons in the Price column and below the album entry read Add Song and Add Album, respectively.

Click the Add Song or Add Album button to add a song or album to your shopping cart.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you can shop no more.

Click the Shopping Cart entry in the Source list (Figure 4.24).

Figure 4.24. The Store's Shopping Cart in the Source list.

The main iTunes window displays all the songs and albums you've piled into your cart. (Album titles appear with a triangle next to them. Click the triangle to reveal the contents of the album.)

At the bottom of the window, you'll see the total you'll owe if you proceed. This total does not include sales tax (which—yes—you will be charged).

Remove any songs and albums you don't want.

If, after viewing the potential cost of your mad dash through The Store, you decide that you really can live without The Definitive Collection: Tony Orlando & Dawn, click the Remove button next to its entry in the Price column.

Take a gander at the recommendations in the browser portion of the iTunes window.

Get this: When you pick songs for the shopping cart, The Store generates a selection of albums that it thinks you'll enjoy, based on the songs and albums you intend to buy. When you have items in the shopping cart and click the Shopping Cart entry in the Source list, those recommendations appear in the browser portion of the iTunes window.

I fear that these recommendations may disconcert some people. On one hand, you may be exposed to music you hadn't considered before. On the other hand, you may feel that these recommendations malign your musical tastes, implying that said tastes are, shall we say, unrefined (“What on earth leads you to believe I'd be interested in Doris Day's Greatest Hits?”).

As a Just-for-Fun game, see if you can force The Store to offer up a particular recommendation. Without adding a Billy Joel album to your shopping cart, for example, try to select the kind of songs and albums that are likely to generate such a recommendation.

Buy your music.

Within the shopping cart, you can buy songs or albums individually by clicking Buy Song or Buy Album, or buy everything in the cart by clicking the Buy Now button at the bottom of the iTunes window.

Unless you've instructed iTunes not to warn you about shopping-cart purchases, a window asks you to reconfirm your intention of buying the items in your cart. If you're sure you want to proceed, click Buy. The items in the cart will be downloaded and placed in the Purchased Music playlist, and your credit card will be charged for the purchase. Click Cancel to nullify the transaction.

The items in your shopping cart remain there even when you log out of The Store or quit iTunes. To remove them permanently, either buy them or click the Remove button next to each item.

Portable Previews

When discussing iMixes, I hinted that you can drag previews out of The Store and into playlists you've created in iTunes. This is handy not only for recommending music you don't own, but also for creating a wish list of music you may one day buy.

If you're a little short on cash this month, for example, but want to remember to eventually purchase a few songs from Tom Jones: Reloaded—Greatest Hits and 16Most Requested Songs: Engelbert Humperdinck , just drag the tunes you want to own to a playlist you've created. When your ship finally comes in, you can buy these tunes in a couple of different ways.

The more tedious way is to select the playlist and click Buy Song for each tune in the list. The zippier way is to delve into the Store tab of iTunes' Preferences window, enable the Buy Using a Shopping Cart option, and drag your playlist atop the Shopping Cart entry in iTunes' Source list. In a matter of moments, the songs in your playlist will be added to your shopping cart, ready to purchase with a single click of the Buy Now button.

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