iTunes… How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways

I realize that 99% of the population is absolutely enamored with everything “i”, including iPods, iTunes, iPhones, etc. I, however, am not part of that 99%. Therefore, I’ve decided to post my rant against iTunes. Within this entry, I will outline a list of the portions of iTunes that really “grind my gears” (to put it the way Peter Griffin did in an episode of Family Guy).

  • The price – $.99 per song or $9.98 per album – Honestly, if I wanted to pay $10 for an album, I’d run down the road to Wal-Mart and pick it up. At least I’d get a nicely pressed disc with cover art, liner notes, etc. As long as it’s not a Sony release, I could rip it and put it on my mp3 player, too. The bottom line is, I get more for my money if I buy the physical CD.
  • The DRM – Again, if I plan to purchase a digital copy of music, I want to be able to freely do what I want with it. Sure, there are ways around the protection fairly easily, but it’s still a step I shouldn’t have to take. It’s ridiculous. It really makes me kind of sick that it is easier for a friend of mine to download all of his music straight from his iPod into my copy of iTunes than it is for me to simply copy my iTunes music onto my mp3 player.
  • Gift certificates – Now, this is the reason I began this rant. Last year, I got 3 gift certificates, each allowing me to download 25 songs. Basically, for you math whizzes out there, that’s $75 worth of gifts. In December, I redeemed the gift certificates and added the balance into my “account”. I downloaded about 10 songs, and decided to hold off until I found something I really wanted on iTunes before using the rest of my balance.

    Today, I decided to log into iTunes for the first time in a while, because I wanted to search for a somewhat rare album. I found it on iTunes. So, I decided to click on the “purchase” button for one of the songs. Needless to say, iTunes decided it wants to charge me for the song. Apparently one of two things happened:

    1. My “gift certificate” expired, which I think is absolute B.S.
    2. or, iTunes does not actually save your balance with your account, and I needed to hang onto the pieces of paper that my gift certificates were originally printed out on

    Either way, I basically lost out on about $65 worth of free music because of iTunes crappy business practices.

  • Proprietary software – I realize this is mostly because of the DRM protection built into the music files, but it really pisses me off that I have to download and install their software in order to do anything with the music I want to download. They have made a minor step in the right direction, at least allowing you to search the store through your browser. However, if you’re going to set up a “Web-based” store, you should be able to use it through your Web browser.

Maybe I’m just getting old, but I can’t stand iTunes or anything that goes along with it. I am perfectly happy with my Toshiba Gigabeat, my “old-fashioned” CDs, my quasi-legal mp3-download service (I won’t mention any names, since the legality of the service has been under scrutiny for multiple years) and all of the things that go along with all of those.

Even with my intense distaste for Microsoft, I have to admit that I would be more inclined to purchase a Zune than an iPod, simply because of how poor I think iTunes really is.

To be fair, I have submitted a support request to the iTunes team (which was an adventure in itself, being that the front page of Apple support took over 10 minutes to load) to investigate the reasons behind my gift certificates disappearing from my account. If I hear anything back from them, I will update this entry.

UPDATE – I received the following response from iTunes support:

Dear Curtiss,

I am sorry to hear of your frustration with these song credits.

After reviewing your account, I can confirm that the codes you redeemed
have, in fact, expired. It was not an iTunes Gift Card or Certificate,
which would have added a cash value in store credit to your account.
They were free song codes that provided 25 free song credits apiece to
your account. Once these song credits expire, there is no way they can
be used.

To see the iTunes Store Terms of Sale, please visit:

http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/ww

Thank you for your understanding, and thank you for your interest in
the iTunes Store.

Tech Tags: HTMCenter

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One Response

  • jeff

    it looks like you GOT, not bought, those 75 song credits. I can tell by how you worded it you didn’t say you bought it.

    DRM is not apple’s fault. They wouldn’t be allowed to sell music without it (unless the labels agreed otherwise) steve jobs wrote against this, and there are now itunes plus tracks for the same price and higher quality than the normal tracks.

    If you were to actually drive to Wal-Mart, you’d have to pay at least $4-5 in gas to get there (depending on where it is), and it’s gonna be a 15 or 20 dollar album instead of a 10 dollar one. Plus there’s the convenience of getting right away and listening to it before you buy it, and a la carte, etc.

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