's rush shows

Not that anyone familiar with running software on a Windows box would notice, but another hallmark of bad customer service has reared its ugly head at, insufficient testing.

According to an article in USA Today, the company's new music system has not been appropriately interacting with digital music players since the services launch last week.

Almost a week old now, and with plenty of tasteless and uninventive me-too advertising under its belt, the new music service is showing its true self as the rushed-to-market also-ran that it is.

Those who know me as a Macintosh aficionado will probably call this sour grapes, but that's just not the case. As I've shown before, I've done investigations into the music services that compete with iTunes, including the subscription-based Rhapsody and Pressplay, and they each have their merits.

But, between the completely inconsistent rights and the slapped-together web UI and the lack of OS integration, the attempt by to ride to coattails of the hype maximized by Apple's successful introduction into the market in April is absolutely pathetic.

If that weren't enough, their advertising is completely derivative, taking Apple's then-innovative man-on-the-street singing ads and giving them a "for the rest of us" flair. That would be excepting the completely tasteless Apple- bashing ad in which rocker Tommy Lee (who plead no contest to beating his wife and baby son in 1998) violently smashes a guitar that looks remarkably like the one that appears in Apple's iTunes Music Service ads.

So, if you want to buy some music and you have a PC, my suggestions would be the following: become a switcher, or if that's not convenient, spend the extra $9.95 a month and sign up for Rhapsody or Pressplay. The service is better, the selection is basically the same, and you'll at least get a nice UI to look at.

NOTE: you'll want Pressplay if you need to download it to a portable music player, as Rhapsody didn't offer that option at last check.