All I Want To Do Is Buy Music

I’m actually not kidding. I’ve spent thirty-five minutes this morning, on my phone and desktop, trying to find a method to PROVIDE LEGAL TENDER IN EXCHANGE FOR MUSIC. With the Caveat that a] it’s not iTunes, because iTunes is a pain in the ass to deal with and b] I can do it via mobile. Oh, and c] DRM free. I bought them. They’re mine. Oh, and finally? d] Willing to sell me music in Canada.

Now, I don’t think these are unreasonable requests.

I still don’t have a solution.

That is completely ridiculous. It should not EVER be this difficult to pay money for something.

I realize that the first response will be “Well, just use iTunes”. The problem with that, of course is, I don’t use an iPhone. Which means, b] is right out (no mobile app for anything except iOS). Also, iTunes is a royal pain in the ass to deal with: Every time I move a hard drive around, or change something significant in Windows, I ‘lose’ tracks. I always manage to find them again, but I shouldn’t have to spend the time like that. Even on Windows, the program is bloated, and it forces ‘upgrades’ (Read: Installations) of software I don’t want (Safari is the primary offender, but Quicktime as well). I run android, there’s no properly viable iTunes app for mobile.

So, iTunes continues to be out.

I’ve bought a bunch of albums through HMV Canada’s music store. There’s a couple of problems there. First, the mobile ‘app’ simply opens the mobile website in a browser. I can actually live with that: it’s not a particularly good design, but I’d hope that that’ll eventually change. What I can’t live with is the mobile sites inability to give me the page I’m choosing. Seriously. There’s TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY PAGES of new releases, and if I press the “next page” button… I get the first page, over, and over, and over. Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s useless. On top of that, once you buy an album, I’ve had multiple occasions where when you download the track to your phone, it quits part way through the download. Again, that would be fine, except for the ‘on site’ DRM: Specifically, you can only download any given track five times. What this means is, I had to spend nearly two weeks talking to tech support at HMV (they have two twitter accounts @hmvcanada and @hmvdigitalca) and are reasonably active, but generally just refer you to the support/customer service email address, where turn around on a response is anywhere from twenty-four to seventy-two hours). After a week, and I did give it a week, in good faith, I simply hit a torrent site and downloaded what I’d paid for, but still hadn’t been allowed to listen to. To give them their credit, they did eventually get me sorted out, but the app is obviously unfinshed and unstable, and the mobile website is epically unprofessional, inefficient, and unfinished.

AmazonMP3 is not available to Canadians, so, THAT’S out.

Android Musicstore isn’t available to Canadians, either.

As a result of this particular rant, I’ve also found 7Digital. I’ve not tried it yet, however. According to wikipedia, however, they do DRM free, sell to Canada, have a mobile app, and aren’t iTunes (they’re partially HMV-owned). I’ve just installed the app, and on the surface, it actually looks pretty good. It’ll sync to my PC and tablet too, without charging me the dreaded “multiple device fee”. I’m hoping this is “the one”.

Look, I know I’m not by any means the only person who’s frustrated by the way the industry works, and by the way they’re determined to defend an outdated business model (until it’s pried from their cold, dead, corporate fingers). New is scary, that’s fine. But the whole internet thing isn’t new anymore. You guys should have been on this twenty years ago, instead of pretending it wasn’t happening. You actually make it difficult (incredibly, unbelievably difficult) to do the thing you want us to do: PAY FOR MUSIC. A vast majority of us want to support the artists. But you, the companies who bitch and complain so much that all people do is steal music, force those people to do the same things. If I can buy the CD in a store in Canada, I should be able to buy that albume or song from any service I want, for a realistic price, considering that distribution and phsyical storage and storefront costs plummet. In other words, I’m not paying the same or more for a degraded digital copy as I would for a physical CD in a case. We’re officially past that. Get over it. Make your online shit work properly, quickly, and stop assuming that if I pay my $0.99 for a song, I’m immediately putting it out there for everyone. All your DRM shit does is make it difficult for people who are already on your side. And if you make it difficult, we’ll continue to find other options.

Oh, and while we’re at it, start actually paying the artists. If your argument is going to continue to be “stealing music hurts the artist” they should be seeing more than nine cents on every dollar I spend, or 12% of the 70% the label recieves. And you have the nerve to call US criminals? I think you’ve all forgotten who actually makes the product you’re selling. You don’t have a product if they don’t get paid, remember?

That’s a rant for another day, though. Today`s is ‘Why is it so fucking difficult to buy legitimate music?’ And I’m still looking for the answer. Anyone got any ideas?

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