Saturday, 10 February 2007

Why I Don't Buy Music From iTunes

I have two computers at home. A Linux box running Kubuntu Edgy and a Mac Mini. The sole reason for buying the Mac was for recording music in GarageBand. There just wasn't a good Linux alternative at the time (Jokosher looks really interesting now).

Inevitably, I began exploring most of what the Mac has to offer. As it turns out, OS X and iLife actually provide a really nice user experience and iTunes is a pretty decent application for managing my music. However, the iTunes Music Store is a different story. There are two main reasons why I won't buy music from iTunes:

  1. DRM. I simply do not want music that I download to be tied to one device. If I buy a CD, I can play it in any CD player. I expect the same from music I download. This subject has received a lot of publicity lately, with Steve Jobs sharing his thoughts in an open letter. Michael Robertson has written a follow up on his blog, which I agree with.
  2. PRICE. A song purchased from iTunes by a UK customer costs £0.79. That's roughly $1.50. Let's suppose a typical album has 12 songs. That works out at £9.48 or $18 per album. Can anyone see any value in this? There are a lot of costs involved in getting a physical CD to the customer. The cost of the CD itself, printing, artwork, hard cover, distribution, shelf space in the shop and likely many more. Distributing music over the Internet should slash the cost of music. Someone is being greedy.
I won't be using the iTunes Music Store until the above two obstacles are removed. For now, I'd rather buy the CD.

What's your thoughts? Have I got it totally wrong and iTunes is offering great value? Are Apple simply a victim of the large music labels?


Anonymous said...

You can alwasy burn iTunes DRM music to a CD (i.e. WAV format) using iTunes and then rip that CD to your format/product of choice for more flexibility. Doesn't solve the price issue, but it does solve the DRM.

Rory Curtis said...

I understand what you are saying but burning the music to CD is a hack (deliberate I suspect) to get around the DRM. It does not solve problem. It's also an extra step that I shouldn't have to take.

If I buy a CD, I don't have to burn it to something else before my stereo will play it.

The only real solution is to remove DRM completely.