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itms:// Links

Bill Bumgarner has figured out how to get direct links to the iTunes Music Store, and they look like this: itms://

I wonder how he did that. I want to be able to do that. I want to have my iTunes list on this site link to ITMS search results instead of Google search results. Is this possible? How is this done? Does anyone know? Bill - care to share?

Update: I believe it's been solved. See the expanded update for more…

The answer came from a TrackBack: Fuse isn't a Mac user, but seems to have gotten it.

Essentially, the snippet of code you'll want to use is this (be sure to get rid of the line break when copying):

Put "itms://" before it and the link will work in iTunes, put "http://" before it and the link will work in Camino (Safari sometimes spits back a malformed XML error).

The tags that are of importance are as follows:

  • songTerm - song title
  • artistTerm - artist name
  • albumTerm - album name
  • composerTerm - composer name
  • term - all fields1

You can string those together in any order, putting standard '&'s2 between them, such as:




Very exciting indeed! I've updated the "now playing" section of the left side of my blog as well as My iTunes list to feature itms:// links.

P.S. I will update with more information as I find it.

1 Thanks Eric Blair (see comments one and two).
2 & changed to & to show up properly on this page. You may need to use & in your URLs to meet the various XHTML specifications and standards. Yes, a simple '&' usually works, but it's usually not correct enough for us really anal types. 🙂

50 Responses to "itms:// Links"

  1. At least figuring out the protocol name is quite straightforward by looking into iTunes' Info.plist. There you'll see that they also have a itmss protocol (presumably secure?).

    And daap is the prefix for sharing music libraries. So I guess you can have people link to your music library. Care to try that later?

    I guess a bit of patience and tcpdump might give you the exact paths of the queries iTunes makes... But perhaps Bill has a better way to do it 🙂

  2. Probably going through a PROXY would reveal more detailed information.

    TCPDUMP spews a lot of gibberish if you not used to looking at that information.

  3. Link to iTunes Music Store items

    Link to iTunes Music Store items

  4. It would be super sweet if you could buy music for someone else at the iTunes store. That way you could post a list of music you want and nice people who like your blog could buy it for you. Kinda like the Amazon 'wishlist'.

  5. I thought there would be a prominent "Copy Song/Album URL" button or popup menu item, but there's nothing... this is such an important new paradigm, defining a standard way to refer to a song (with 30-sec samples, yet!), you'd think they'd make it easier. Go figure...

  6. Apple's Music Store

    I give two thumbs up to the Apple Music Store because they had a J.J. Johnson album I've been looking...

  7. itunes store search

    NSLog(); - itms:// Links I want to have my iTunes list on this site link to ITMS search results instead of Google search results. Is this possible? How is this done? Ok. despite not actually having a mac I have...

  8. Try going to that using http:// instead of itms:// . You get an XML document with all the data.

    I bet people are, at some point, going to reverse-engineer the protocol, though I don't see anything wrong with iTunes (of course, people could probably then build a free software/open source version usable on other *nixes).

  9. It looks like


    will search for all fields for the specified text.

  10. iTunes 4

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  11. Linking To Apple Music

    Thanks to Erik's tips I know have my recent music section link through to the iTunes Music Store. This of...

  12. ITMS Integration

    Following Erik's info I integrated the ITMS with my iTunes weblog service. Clicking the ITMS link will search the ITMS for that song. The only information I changed from his info is using & instead of &…

  13. This is awesome info guys! Thanks...hope you don't mind if I forwarded tidbits of info and links back here to the MacOSXHints site.

    Also - how do you get that great "iTunes Last Played" page with the itms:// links. Thats fantastic. Do tell what you started out with...

  14. Welcome to the wonderful world of WebObjects and the NeXT legacy...

  15. Kung-Tunes provides the tracks for me currently, though I'm trying to get Jason to eventually add this stuff to Recent Tunes.

  16. itms://

    Prompted by Bill Bumgarner directly linking to the iTunes Music Store, Erik Barzeski launched an investigation of itms:// linking. With the help of Fuse, it looks like the secret's been cracked. I went back to yesterday's post to add itms...

  17. Linking to the iTunes Music Store

    Creating links into the iTunes Music Store

  18. More Music Thoughts

    Now that the Mac and the iPod support the AAC format, I'm re-encoding my CD library. The iTunes "auto-import-and-eject" feature makes this task much less daunting than it could be. Casually popping in CDs while I work, I should have...

  19. Hrm, just looked 5 minutes at the xml output and it seems that there's no trace of the album cover art url. I presume they are not stored in iTunes itself for many practical reasons (hehe) but I can't find where.. Post if you have any clue about this..

  20. I haven't used Kung-Tunes before. Looking at the docs it seems pretty straightforward. That being said... Would you mind sharing your method?

  21. MattBrink, all covered right here on this very same blog.

    Might I recommend trying next time?

  22. So this reveals source code but doesn't help mac OS 9 folks (like me), access the store , right?

  23. Mathieu, the image cover URL seems to be included in the XML output for the sample link at the top of this page, if you use the XPath expression:


    You end up with the URL to a 170x170 image.

    This works when I run a small XSLT client-side transform in IE6 on Windows, so they don't even block non-iTunes user-agents… But I don't have a Mac, so I don't know if this is the album cover art that iTunes uses/you are talking about…

  24. What's "Mac OS 9"? 🙂

  25. Thank you Ingve. 🙂

  26. linking to the apple music store

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  27. More on iTunes4

    Blogspace is certainly abuzz about iTunes4 and the Music Store. This article nicely summarizes how URLs to specific parts of of the Music Store are structured. If you want to see what the URL delivers, just change the "itms" to...

  28. A lot of people's near-instantaneous reaction to the iTunes Music Store may be somewhat negative - a list of things they want, should be improved,...

  29. I think term needs to be used in conjunction with /search?, not /advancedSearchResults?.

    <gratuitous plug>Later in the evening, I'll update iTunes Music Glossary to take into account the changes you've made.</gratuitous plug>

  30. There's a larger cover image in the preview (AAC) file itself. You could extract it using jpegextracor for example.

  31. iTunes Music Glossary 1.1

    Based on some more information posted to Erik Barzeski's weblog about itms:// URLs, I've updated iTunes Music Generator to version 1.1. The changes are as follows: Automatically insert "&amp;" between search terms when necessary. Added glossary en...

  32. Linking to the iTunes Music Store

    Excellent tip that I'm saving here for future use: how to create a website link that performs a search on the iTunes Music Store.

  33. itms:// - Links zum neuen Music Store

    Auch wenn man über den neuen iTunes Music Store in Deutschland noch nicht einkaufen kann, so ist es doch möglich darin zu stöbern und sich Previews anzuhören, wovon ich auch schon öfters Gebrauch gemacht habe. Nun, wäre es...

  34. iTounes

    Je suis un peu en retard sur le scoop ici. Apple a fait des choses qui ont fait beaucoup jaser...

  35. I've made a small PHP script that retrieve almost every album CD cover art for the ones who *accidently* downloaded mp3s BEFORE Apple released their Music Store.. hehhe I'm saying almost every album cover because the script is very simple and I had no time to give it more power than loading the first cover that show up in the xml file. I'm currently working on a similar cocoa app but wth amazon request to expand the search (Apple store only have about 200K songs for now)

    You can try it here.

  36. Is it just me, or is the data now returned encrypted, not in readable XML?

    For instance,

    I tried this out with curl -I, and I got this header.

    HTTP/1.1 200 Apple

    Date: Mon, 12 May 2003 19:39:40 GMT

    Content-Length: 3088

    Content-Type: text/xml; charset=iso-8859-1

    Cache-Control: no-transform

    Server: Apache/1.3.27 (Darwin)

    content-encoding: gzip, x-aes-cbc

    x-apple-max-age: 3600

    x-apple-crypto-iv: 5425ece425984e1d6b151049f7146c4a

    x-apple-protocol-key: 2

    x-apple-asset-version: 186

    x-apple-application-instance: 6

    Via: 1.1 netcache03 (NetCache NetApp/5.2.1R2D2)

    So, is Apple trying to prevent ITMS from being used as a useful service?

  37. Seems to me that you're correct - and that it's now encrypted. Hrmph.

  38. Linking to the iTunes Music Store

    Excellent tip that I'm saving here for future use: how to create a website link that performs a search on the iTunes Music Store.

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  40. Hi all,

    Don't know if anyone is interested but I've created a Java client called jTunes that performs similar functions as Kung-Tunes. I haven't slapped a nice GUI onto it yet (ever?) but it picks up the latest song played in iTunes (tested on Windows XP only) and sends a blog trackback to a Moveable type server. If you are interested in the code I can make it available.


  41. I was able to incorporate this into a project I was working on...

    Thanks for all the great help... If anyone wants a perl script that looks at Pictures or MP3s and shows the information then lets you get the Mp3 from ITMS take a look at this;

  42. Personal iTunes

    Whipped up a test iTunes page. Unfortunately Apple now encrypts the connection with AES128, and their xml syntax seems non-standard. At the moment the only freely available iTunes SDK is for the visualizer; any others are supposedly for hardware develo...

  43. who'da thunk it?

    iTunes 4 and the iTunes Music Store have been public for a week now, and it’s obviously a success. Over...

  44. ITMS links

    I said ask, and Snowball asked. So here's a quick how-to on having ecto (or any other app) write links to the iTunes Music Store.

  45. I use kung tunes to post my current and last 4 itunes playlist to my MT blog as a trackback ping. I want the album name to be a link to the itms album, but the code just will not work.


    Here's what I have:

    title=itunes: ^t&url=foo&blog_name=Tim's Reflection Connection&excerpt= ^tAlbum: ^aBy: ^p

    ^t = title

    ^p = artist

    ^a = album

    Google searches work fine. Just that itms search causes the script to fail.

    Any ideas?

  46. I thought this entry was great! I used it extensively to build a small webpage that will allow you to search the iTMS from the web. Check it out:

  47. anyone else notice that albumTerm and artistTerm are now broken?

  48. iTunes 4

    Of course I cannot resist making a few comments on the new iTunes and its music store as well, having made a couple of notes on what I find...

  49. Today I attempted to use the Apple iTMS Link Maker to make a search template for LaunchBar and the iTunes Music Store, but that didn't go anywhere. Then I remembered that I had blogged about itms:// links. That post contained...

  50. Contrary to some comments above, this seems to still be working - thanks Eric, this was just what I needed. I've written an AppleScript that grabs all of the data and creates a nice link:

    Better iTunes Data Insert.