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Adding iTunes 9 Store preview clips to a playlist
Mon, 11/16/2009 - 11:57
If you use iTunes a lot, you might have tried saving 30-second previews from the iTunes store in a playlist. This was a great way to shop.
But the new iTunes 9 breaks this! They've redone the interface such that you can't drag a preview clip to a playlist anymore.
[Edit 7/17/10: This problem is fixed in iTunes version 9.2. This functionality returns with that version.]
There's a lame workaround. Each song in the iT9 store has a new tiny pop-up menu on the far right. Select "Add to Wish List". When you've picked your cuts, go to your wish list and play tracks from it. (Bottom of every window under "Manage", or on the home page on the right under "Quick Links".)
But this sucks for a few reasons. You can't re-arrange the order of the wish list, and you can't mix together tracks from your library with tracks from the store.
So I'm experimenting to find another way. This article reports my testing, hopefully I'll find an answer and will summarize a solution. (Unfinished testing as of 2009_11_16.)
I have a bunch of previews in playlists already, from the days of iTunes 8. Since these "store-songs already in playlists" (I'll refer to them as SSAIP) still work to playback the preview...
Maybe there's a way to add a URL to a playlist? Perhaps Applescript or automator could save the preview in a playlist.
(I tried unsuccessfully to export a mixed playlist of SSAIP and library tracks, but SSAIP don't show up in the exported playlist's entries, it strips them and just shows library tracks.)
"Starting with iTunes 9.0, store pages were delivered using standard HTML with a special header. iTunes uses WebKit to render these pages on the screen. Prior to iTunes 9.0, The iTunes Store was delivered using a custom XML format that describes the position of all of the elements, boxes, album art and all of their properties - including whether a reference link can be dragged out of iTunes and into another document. The App Store portion of the store is still rendered in this fashion."
OK... so if the iTunes Store page in iTunes is just an HTML page, try this:
In the mini pop-up menu for an album, select "Copy link". For the Pavement tune "Spit On A Stranger", it is:
Switch to a web browser (I tested in Safari) and paste the link into the address bar, and hit enter. It will switch back to iTunes, but the browser window is still open so switch back again to your web browser.
You'll see a page that looks pretty similar to iTunes except the "play" buttons are replaced by "View In iTunes" links.
View Source for this page, and search for the song title.
(If you have Safari's "Show Develop Menu" enabled at Preferences/Advanced, right-click on the "View In iTunes" link for the song and select "Inspect Element." If you have Firebug installed in Firefox, right-click and "Inspect Element".)
At the song's row, you'll see this:
The key is this link to the preview clip: http://a581.phobos.apple.com/us/r1000/036/Music/8e/08/b7/mzi.errxavgt.aac.p.m4p
Click that. But more interesting: in iTunes, go to Advanced/Open Audio Stream, paste that URL and hear the preview.
Getting closer... Stay tuned as I experiment more...