Puretracks: Record labels Forced Mac Incompatibility

A couple weeks ago, Mike Skovgaard and I went to Vancouver Enterprise Forum.

One of the speakers was Geoff Hansen from RocketBuilders, who happens to sit on the board of Puretracks, the music service that (he said) has more more market share in Canada than Apple’s iTunes.

Puretracks is also in the US, and other markets, I believe, but in most instances users of its services would have no idea that they are using Puretracks, since the company licenses its software for other companies to use to build their own online music stores. For instance, if memory serves, Geoff said that Coke’s music site uses Puretracks technology.

The interesting thing that he mentioned was that when Puretracks was launching, a condition that the music labels required was that the site would not work for Macs.


Perhaps the labels, knowing that they’ve helped Apple create a juggernaut in the iTunes and iPod empire, are very, very leery of doing anything else that will support Macs. Or perhaps the labels’ contracts with Apple, worked out when the iTunes music store was only a dream of Steve, specifies that they will not allow other competitors to build music stores on the Mac platform.

The funny thing, of course, is that there is nothing inherently about the site that would disallow Macs. I browsed the site and added a bunch of albums to my shopping cart in Safari … simply by enabling Safari’s Debug menu and switching the reported user agent to MSIE 6:

puretracks on max OS X no problem

Previewing songs does require WMA, however. Mac users are not first-class citizens in the WMA world, but it is supported.

The question remains: why would the labels not want Puretracks to work on a Mac?

I originally (and mistakenly) thought Andre Charland was the speaker who talked about Puretracks. Apologies, Andre!

Thanks to the very youthful Michael Fergusson for setting me straight!


4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hi – noticed your posting about Puretracks re: Mac compatibility. You’ve got the wrong idea.

    I work at Puretracks. I am also the only Mac user there. The DRM is the issue. Apple won’t sell us licenses for their FairPlay DRM, which is what you need to sell downloaded songs that play on iPod.

    Microsoft openly licenses their DRM, so that is what we use. It is literally the only game in town (at the moment).

    Believe me – and I speak for myself here, not the company – but we would *love* LOVE to sell for iPods. We’re not snubbing Mac users. I see to it personally. 🙂

    Anyways, keep an eye on legal developments in France re: Apple and music, things may change soon.

    Cheers… -n

  • Perhaps for the same reasons that Apple refuses to support Linux. BTW: This site doesn’t even work on Firefox under Linux either.