Guest Author - Michelle Anne Cope
A Quick Story
I don’t have a long drawn out tale today. I have a green Shuffle and I have a green iTunes Music Store Card. My entire CD collection is downloaded on my laptop and now I’m ready to buy some new music.
I’m writing this brief “how-to” article for you and me. I’ve received several emails and there have been some visitors to our MP3/iTunes forum who have been a little confused about using gift cards. Let’s see if we can crack that code!
The iTunes Library
The Apple iTunes website is located at http://www.apple.com/itunes/. I will list the link again at the bottom of this article.
When the site loads, you will see a picture of a CD with a blue music note at the top of the page – this is where you click to get to the download information and files for the iTunes Library. The library will run on Mac and Window based computers, just choose the download that matches your operating system.
I really like the library because it organized all of the music and video files on my computer. I have Windows XP (yes, the library will work on Vista as well – I just haven’t upgraded yet) and I had the choice of choosing what files I want to open with the library as well as to automatically or manually import a CD.
Downloading selected songs or entire CDs from the library to an iPod or Shuffle is easy enough, it’s a drag and drop process.
Now, let’s go shopping.
The iTunes Store
I went back to the Apple iTunes website and clicked on the word “Store” at the top of the page. Oops – this was wrong. This link took me to the store where you can buy everything from iPods to Mac systems. I backed out and tried clicking the word “Downloads”. BUZZ! This link took me to a page with a list of software and shareware downloads. I was frustrated. I decided to leave the website and open my iTunes Library. I also took the time to read the back of my iTunes Music Store Card ($15 – a gift from my husband) and on the back of the card I found instructions.
1. Open iTunes and click Music Store.
2. Click Prepaid Cards
3. Enter the code shown when requested (you have to scratch the silver coating off to get to the number beneath). Download your songs. Enjoy.
I really loved that extra word – enjoy.
I gave it a try.
The store opened and on the right hand side was a menu titled “Quick Links”. I had the option of “Browse”, “Power Search”, “Account”, “Buy iTunes Gifts”, “Redeem”, “Support”, “Complete My Album – New” and “iTunes Plus – New”.
I would like to go back some day and check out the two new options. The gift section also looked cool because you can buy music cards and set up download allowances for your kids.
I didn’t see anything that said “Prepaid Cards”, so I hit “Redeem”. I entered my “secret code” from the back and it opened a screen notifying me that I needed to sign in with my “Apple ID’ or create an account.
I created an account and was taken to another screen asking for credit card information. I opted out on adding my info; I just wanted to use my gift card, so I clicked “None” and tried to continue. Silly me, I had to go back and fill in my name and other vital stats. This time, when I hit “enter”, I was rewarded with a screen that told me that I had indeed “successfully redeemed” my card.
I hit “done” and I was taken back to the main screen and the “Quick Links” menu. I went to “Account”. There was my credit of $15. I decided to make my first purchase, Modern Minds and Pastimes, by The Click Five.
The iTunes store subtracted the total price for the album from my balance and immediately downloaded the album to my library. I was impressed that I was also able to download album art for my entire collection. Just a few didn’t download – but that’s okay, I still think having the album art is awesome since we all know how hard I struggled with putting my little square slim CD cases away.
Next, I decided to go back and buy a single song. I bought "Voices Carry" by ‘Til Tuesday. Guess what? The Click Five covered the song in 2005, so I had to buy that single, too.
The same thing happened – a debit to my account and a download – easy enough – and I had a small balance left over. TIME FOR ANOTHER CARD!!!
However . . .
I know that many of you asked how to use your gift card if you have already stored your credit card information. I want to thank one of our forum visitors for the answer. She said she was confused when buying with a gift card and often had to go to the iTunes Help Section. She gave us a quick answer. THANK YOU! I paraphrased it a bit.
To use a gift card, you simply go to your account and then add the gift card number to your payment profile next to your credit card information.
I know you can buy more in the store besides music. I just used music as an example. I was excited to see the store had videos, television shows and pod casts.
I hope this article was helpful. If you have any comments or additions, please email me or stop by to talk in the MP3/iTunes forum.
Have a great week!