Thursday, January 29, 2009

iTunes DRM upgrade: now per song, but I'm still not happy

MacRumors has reported that iTunes is now allowing folks to upgrade their previously purchased DRM songs to DRM-free on a 'per track' basis instead of having to upgrade their entire library at once.

While this is a step in the right direction, it's still insulting to loyal Apple customers.

Apple is trying to pass this scheme off as a chance to upgrade the bit rate of your song from 128kps to 256kps, charging you 30 cents for the better bit rate. But most users could care less about the higher bit rate, and probably aren't going to notice the difference unless they have a serious sound system hooked up to their computer. From my perspective (which I think is shared by a large amount of veteran iTunes customers), I'm being charged 30 cents for a song I've already purchased just to have the right to play it on a device of my choice.

Does that sound like an honorable business decision to you?

While I love Apple software and hardware (I just bought iLife '09, and will post a review once I have a chance to play with it), I feel as though I'm being punished for the business I've given to the iTunes store for the past few years (over 4000 tracks worth of business). Since I currently have no need to play the songs on other devices, I won't be upgrading my songs, and going forward, my business is going to Amazon.

I'm hoping by the time iTunes incorporates the layered pricing structure, they'll come up with a better offer. What are the chances someone is going to want to pay an additional 30 cents for a song they've already bought for 99 cents, and is now available for 30 cents less?

(FYI - this isn't the first time Apple has defecated on their customers. In 2007, they charged people who had recently bought new Macs an additional $2 after the purchase just to activate the 802.11n wireless capabilities already built into the computer).

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