As of December, iTunes no longer offers its free Single of the Week. It was a feature Apple’s music store offered for well over a decade and was one that helped me to discover many great songs and artists.
I’m a casual user of iTunes. Most of the music I buy is on CD and vinyl but occasionally, I do buy music digitally. If one of my favourite artists has just announced a new album and they put a single on iTunes, I’ll buy it. I’ll buy a full album if I’m not hard pressed to own a physical copy of it but still want to have it. A non-essential, if you will.
The iTunes Free Single of the Week was a major draw for me and it brought me to the digital store every Tuesday. Admittedly, I downloaded them less than half the time and they were pretty hit or miss but I can credit iTunes with my discovery of some great songs and artists over the years.
The iTunes Free Song of the Week was what introduced me to both Nicole Atkins and Lindi Ortega, two artists I likely never would have found otherwise, when their songs The Way It Is and Little Lie was the weekly offer, respectively. It was also where I found Basia Bulat‘s Tall Tall Shadow, one of my favourite songs of last year, and Jon Bryant‘s Deaf, a song I get lost in regularly.
The feature also introduced me to an array of other artists that I may or may not have found through other means such as Martha Wainwright (You Cheated Me and I Wish I Were), Hey Rosetta! (Welcome), Ash Koley (Brighter At Night), Hannah Georgas (Bang Bang You’re Dead, Somebody and Enemies), Whitehorse (Emerald Isle), Chvrches (Recover), HAIM (The Wire) and Kacey Musgraves (Follow Your Arrow).
They were also first on previewing artists who would become well known eventually anyway, such as Adele (Chasing Pavements), Lana Del Rey (Born To Die), Florence & The Machine (Kiss With A Fist), Lumineers (Ho Hey), Ed Sheeran (The A Team) and Lorde (Tennis Court).
There are dozens of CDs I’ve purchased over the past few years thanks in part to songs iTunes made available for me to check out. It wasn’t my primary go-to spot for new music but it was a significant source that was easy to access and proved itself to be quite rewarding.
iTunes US just launched a new Free on iTunes section that offers a selection of free music, not all of it newly released. As of now I don’t see it on iTunes Canada so it may just be limited to the Americans store. Hopefully they’ll expand it because it is an awesome way for lesser known acts to be promoted and for users to discover new music.