Apple caught cutting some iTunes song previews down to 30 seconds

iTunes 11 (Albums)

A few years ago, Apple extended song previews in iTunes from 30 seconds to 90 seconds, for tracks longer than two and a half minutes. The move pleased users, as it enabled them to listen to a large chunk of the song before purchasing it.

It appears, however, that Apple has recently changed its policy regarding music samples, reverting some track preview times back to 30 seconds. The change has been reported by several users, on both mobile and desktop versions of iTunes…

MacRumors reports:

According to one MacRumors forum user, some songs that are only available for 30 second previews were available in 90 second lengths just hours ago. User complaints on Twitter also suggest that the shift is recent.

“As early as a few hours ago these were all 90 seconds! If you remember, Apple made a big deal about switching to extended previews, now a lot of songs are reverting back. Seeing more 30-second previews now than 90-second on most albums I’ve checked.”

Again, not all songs have been returned back to 30-second previews, and there doesn’t seem to be a common denominator in the ones that have. Many Coldplay albums, for example, have been reverted, but a number of Eminem’s albums have not.

It’s unknown at this time if this is a permanent move, or just a glitch. It’s also possible that it could be a temporary situation, caused by licensing negotiations. When Apple first debuted 90 second previews in 2010, several record labels disapproved.

Another theory is that this could be a regional thing, so be sure to let us know what you’re seeing in the comments below.