Increasingly disenchanted with iTunes

I, like many people I know, love buying music on iTunes. It is so refreshing to be able to buy music a la carte. Who wants to buy the entire Dangerously in Love album when all you want is the one good frigg’n song on the album: “Crazy In Love?” I mean really. This is why I love iTunes.

But iTunes is also infuriating as it becomes the sole outlet for all my music purchases because, and I hate to sound like a zealot, but it is infringing upon a right I have grown accustomed to my entire life: the right to share.

For example, this morning I ran into a friend on my walk to work and I told her about an album I just started listening to and was very impressed by, William Shatner’s Has Been. Naturally she wanted to hear what I was talking about and asked, “can I listen to the album at work from you iTunes Music Share?”

“Yes,” I told her.

But I was wrong. She can’t because the file is locked and can only be listened to through my iTunes client, or my iPod. But get this: if I had bought Has Been on CD and ripped it to my computer using iTunes, then she could have listened to every song without any problem at all.

In both circumstances I have paid money for a right to listen to music. What I object to is that my rights in regards to that music are different depending upon the medium through which I purchased it (or a license to listen to it depending upon how you look at it). Is it just me, or is that totally unfair? But doesn’t it also seem counter productive for the iTunes Music Store or music producers in general? Especially since it is very likely that my friend being able to listen to my music would have in turn purchased one or two songs from the album, if not the entire album itself.

Bottom line, I am incredibly resentful because I being punished for someone else’s wrong doings. I am a law abiding consumer, following all the rules of a consumer driven society: I actually pay for shit. Yet I am being discriminated against because of the manner in which I consume. It is not about what is “fair.” In this case, it is about what is just plain wrong.

12 Comments

That's just wrong! I was thinking about getting an iPod, but now I'm reconsidering.

Have you tried burning the purchased tracks to a CD, then ripping them back into iTunes? It's a hastle you shouldn't have to go through, but may do the trick. It couldn't hurt to have backup copies of the music on CD in case something happens to your hard drive.

Your work around will work. If I purchase an album, burn the album, then rip it again back into iTunes, then the copy protection mechanism is rendered ineffective.

But that only compounds my dislike in a way because for me, it magnifies the inequality inherent in iTunes' system. Why make me jump through all those hoops and waste even more time and resources working around a system I shouldn't have to work around in the first place?

I would not discourage you from getting an iPod - the culprit here is iTunes.

To be fair - I will continue to buy music from iTunes. It infuriates me, but the convenience of it is far too great. And used in conjunction with Pandora it is a god send.

Music purchased from the iTunes music store takes away a lot more of your freedom than what you mention here: For instance, music I purchase through ITMS cannot be played on my Squeezebox audio player in my living room.

You're "incredibly resentful" because you're being "punished for someone else’s wrong doings" and it's "just plain wrong" and "totally unfair" and it "infuriates" you, BUT you "will continue to buy music from iTunes" -- "to be fair." Huh?

Sorry, but you have just lost your right to bitch. You have made yourself Part of the Problem. By continuing to send your dollars to Apple, you're voting with your pocketbook, and your vote says "it is okay for you to treat me this way; I'll even pay you to keep treating me this way." Steve Jobs just loves people like you. He's laughing all the way to the bank.

I cannot argue with anything you have said. But I don't think I have lost any right to bitch. As a one time vegetarian for eight years I can say with some authority that the single vote cast by my pocket book is lost in the electorate of the marketplace at large. There is simply too much momentum behind the market. So there is no sense in me rejecting the machine except on pure moral grounds - which has virtually no effect in the long term except to limit my access to music.

The sad reality is that these copy protection measures have worked themselves into every music marketplace. Music companies would never have agreed to sell their music in that forum otherwise.

So in the meantime, I choose to use products like JHymn to thwart iTunes protection measures. Of course, my supposed morale high ground of being a law abiding consumer is probably lost in so doing.

When you use iTunes you are agreeing to their terms. And those terms stipulate that in exchange for the convenience of being able to buy only one song off an album at a discounted price, you will have to abide by some limitations on the song file you receive. That's just how it is. It's a tradeoff. If you don't like it, find another service that doesn't require a tradeoff (ha).

I have a feeling if Apple were selling 192kbps straight un-DRM'd MP3 files, they wouldn't be able to sell them for 99 cents.

I have the same issues with iTunes but have you heard about Sony and rootkit? Hmmmm being locked in to a product and told not to share or having a company demand that you not to use another product…

The iTunes DRM is driving me nuts. I'm just going to go back to buying CDs, then I can listen to the ripped mp3s on whatever I want.

Is it legal to rip a CD and then let a friend listen to it from another location through some kind of network?

Is it legal to let a friend come over to my house, select a CD, put it in my CD player and listen to it? Yes.

Is it legal to let a friend come over to my house, select a CD, copy it and take it home. No.

Paul - I am just not sure if your question is rhetorical or sincere, but listening to someone else's music has never been illegal. Copying it without permission always has been.

99-cent compressed tracks with DRM are a sad example of "one step forward, two steps back". A purchase of a CD is like buying another brink to put in a wall; purchasing an iTune is like throwing money in a wishing well.

Well, I can certainly say it's quite unfair that you have to go through this hassle if you've bought the album and everything.. however, i must say that I always steal music haha and I never go through this kind of situations..

I know it's wrong to steal music and everything.. but seriously, if you can get it for free why should I pay for it? it's kind of a silly theory, but it's true..

I bet if you would have downloaded the album through uTorrent or something you would be now sharing it freely and enjoying good music with a quality as good as the one you've purchased..

Cheers!

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  • Well, I can certainly say it's quite unfair that you have to go through this hassle if you've bought the album and everything.. however, i must say that I always steal music haha and I never go through this kind of situa...

  • brink = brick ...

  • 99-cent compressed tracks with DRM are a sad example of "one step forward, two steps back". A purchase of a CD is like buying another brink to put in a wall; purchasing an iTune is like throwing money in a wishing well....

  • Is it legal to let a friend come over to my house, select a CD, put it in my CD player and listen to it? Yes. Is it legal to let a friend come over to my house, select a CD, copy it and take it home. No. Paul - I am ju...

  • Is it legal to rip a CD and then let a friend listen to it from another location through some kind of network? ...

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