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Tuesday, November 02, 2010, 06:35 pm PT (09:35 pm ET)

Apple increasing US iTunes music previews to 90 seconds

Apple sent emails to music label representatives Tuesday notifying them that iTunes music previews in the United States will be extended from 30 seconds to 90 seconds.

In an email (shown below) obtained by AppleInsider, Apple announced that it is "preparing to increase the length of music previews from 30 seconds to 90 seconds on the iTunes Store in the United States." The letter was sent to label representatives from "The iTunes Store Team." No time frame was given for when the extended previews will be available to U.S. customers.

The letter explains that by continuing to make content available on the iTunes Store, the recipient is agreeing to the new terms. The new 90 second previews only affect songs that are longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds, with shorter songs keeping the original 30 second preview length.

In late August, rumors swirled that Apple would announce extended iTunes music previews at its Sept. 1 special event. However, after the event came and went without the speculated announcement, Greg Sandoval of CNET reported that the plan may have been blocked by the National Music Publishers Association because of a licensing disagreement.

Dear Label Representative:

We are pleased to let you know that we are preparing to increase the length of music previews from 30 seconds to 90 seconds on the iTunes Store in the United States. We believe that giving potential customers more time to listen to your music will lead to more purchases.

All you have to do is continue making your content available on the iTunes Store, which will confirm your acceptance to the following terms.

You agree that this letter modifies our U.S. Digital Music Download Sales Agreement so that “Clips” for songs longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds may be up to 90 seconds long (“Clips” for shorter songs will stay at 30 seconds); and you agree to license, or pass through to Apple, gratis mechanical rights for 90-second “Clips” embodying the entirety of compositions owned or controlled, in whole or in part, by you or your affiliates. Further, you represent that you have the authority to enter into this letter agreement for 90-second “Clips”.

Thank you,
The iTunes Store Team