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September 2008
October 2008

2008-09-20 »

iTunes Music Store. Diagnosis: Insane

Okay, I finally gave in. After reading about the fact that iTunes Plus now sells you DRM-free music for the same price as DRMed music, I figured, great, I don't have to boycott them anymore. As it happens, I had no interest whatsoever in downloading music from the iTunes music store in particular, but I have a few artists I figured deserve my money, and I've been too lazy to visit a real music store for months, so I figured this would be a good way.

Incidentally, there is absolutely no way to legally buy downloadable music online in Canada except iTunes. What the heck? Amazon, the other choice in the U.S., makes you download and install their idiotic auto-download tool before they give you any hint that they don't even offer their service in Canada. And nobody else exists at all. iTunes was last on my list of choices, but it was the only one.

Okay, whatever. Everybody else is asleep at the switch, and I'm no big iTunes fan, but they'll sell me DRM-free music - in Canada - for a reasonable price. I already have a Mac and iTunes and an iPod, and I've confirmed that Linux really can play DRM-free AAC music just in case, so I'm not getting any more locked in than I already was. Sign me up.

That's when I made my next mistake: I bought and downloaded DJ Tiesto's In Search of Sunrise 7 without reading the iTunes online reviews first.

Here's what the reviews told me (and they were right): there are only 24 of the 28 tracks from the CD, and they're all separate, not mixed.

Hold on a second, my rage is building.

Not. Mixed?

THEY TOOK IN SEARCH OF SUNRISE 7 AND UNMIXED THE TRACKS AND THEN SOLD ME ONLY SOME OF THEM WHILE CLAIMING IT WAS THE WHOLE ALBUM.

They sold me A TIESTO ALBUM WITH THE TRACKS UNMIXED.

What the crap?!?

For those of you who haven't heard of Tiesto, here's what he does. He picks a bunch of tracks that he likes, then mixes them together into a really awesome continuous mix where you can barely tell that one track blends into another. In other words, his value added is that he's a DJ. He mixes tracks.

They sold me his CD, but with the tracks unmixed.

Speechless.

That was my first, and now last, iTunes Music Store purchase. Good grief. If I stole the music using P2P, I would have gotten better service.

Horrified.

Update 2008/09/22: Of course I emailed iTunes Store support about this. Their first response was to refund my money and give me a free credit and say they were going to continue looking into it, all of which is commendable. It doesn't make the problem itself any less insane - the process by which some producer somewhere authorized Tiesto's removal from a Tiesto CD is mind boggling - but I give them credit for good customer service. Meanwhile, I guess I still won't be buying more music from iTunes, but not because I'm angry; it's because I listen to mostly mixed electronic music, and I have no way of knowing they won't randomly sabotage it.

Updated diagnosis: still insane, but nice.

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