(not my)tunes

I’d like to buy music from iTunes music store, I really would. But they sure don’t make it appealing.

The first problem is the file itself: a 128 kbps MPEG-4. Please… First its not an mp3 so it’s not a universal file format. Second, I’m not buying a 128 kbps anything. I don’t believe the hype about the MPEG-4 sound quality, but that’s not even the relevant issue. With today’s download speeds there’s no reason for such a small file. Give me 160 at the very least.

The second problem, related to the above, is the copyright issue. I just bought Iron & Wine’s Woman King EP (before I knew about the file type) and I see happy little lock icons on my music files. Feels nice to buy something that looks like it’s locked in a vault.

Then you have to factor in price. If I’m getting an inferior quality product, and I’m trapped within a proprietary format, I’m not really buying a song or an album am I? So why the stiff prices? As an example: Smashing Pumpkins’ new album is available for download on iTunes for $11.99. Amazon.com has it for $9.97. So let’s see, Amazon will offer you the actual physical CD, which you can then rip as many times as you want, at any resolution you choose all the way up to full-quality Red Book. Plus, you get the actual thing, rather than a bunch of protected ACC files. And they offer it cheaper.

Add to this the issue of unethical privacy practices, and the whole thing makes no sense.


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