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Why I don’t buy from iTunes

May 31, 2008

For a long time before they launched here, I was pretty bummed that iTunes didn’t sell in Canada. By the time they opened here, I’d discovered the perils of Limewire, and the rest was downhill from there.

I recently was given an iTunes gift card.  I figured I’d give them a shot again, what I seem to have run into is just one blunder after another in a normally excellent company’s venture into selling digital music.

I went out and grabbed a copy of each of Hard-Fi’s two albums; Stars Of CCTV and Once Upon A Time in the West.

First off, I couldn’t find how to redeem my gift card.  When nothing presented itself immediately, I assumed I did that at checkout.  However, I hit “go” at checkout and was politely informed that my credit card had just been billed.  Just like that. It might be really simple to do elsewhere, but everywhere else I’ve shopped with gift-money, you redeem the certificate or card at payment time, online or IRL.  Apparently not on iTunes.

The way I see it, I was swindled $20 that I wouldn’t have spent on music I only bought because I had the money to spend, and couldn’t magically turn it into cash.

Then, there’s DRM.  iTunes has non-DRM music in there, somewhere, they gleefully advertise this fact, but I never found it.  Or it’s unmarked. I’m still a little unclear.  Anyway, I bought my music and had to “authorize” my tracks.  I only have 4 computers left for those songs.  What the fuck?  If this were a CD, I could do whatever the shit I wanted to with what I just bought.  Not so with iTunes, it seems.  Assholes.

But I could live with that.  The odds that I’d want to have my music on 5 computers at once seems a little slim, so I’m willing to let that one slide a little.

No, the final straw came today.  My music seems to have up and vanished.  I paid $20 for two damned albums, and the fuckers all vanished.  They’re not in iTunes, they’re not stored anywhere on the (Mac) computer as files, and they’ve been pulled from my (Apple-generated) backup volume.  Now, I put them on the computer on the … 18th, I think, or the 19th.  They went onto my iPod on the 20th, at least.  Those are still there, thank god.  I still have the backup from then; and they’re not on it.

I honestly have no clue how this happened.  It shouldn’t have happened.  I keep hoping I’m just being an idiot, missing the obvious, but the more I dig, the more it looks like Apple ate my music, off my hard drive and my backup volume.

I have those two albums coming through bittorrent now, in reliable ol’ .mp3 bootlegs, I paid to own copies of those albums, and I want versions without Apple’s grubby little pawprints all over it.

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