Apple – the right hand giveth and the left hand nickle-and-dimeth you

I’m really happy to see that all of the content music in the iTunes store will be available with no DRM. That’s a big step forward – just tonight I was denied the right to play some of my music on my family room computer because it’s not authorized for my purchased iTunes content and I already have the maximum five machines authorized. Unfortunately two of those machines are no longer functioning, so I can’t de-authorize them. So I thought – here’s a perfect opportunity to change those tunes I purchased from iTunes (not very many – usually I buy through eMusic or Amazon).

Then I found out that Apple wants 30 cents a tune to change content I already paid for to the non-DRM’ed version. Does anybody besides me think that’s totally outrageous?


6 thoughts on “Apple – the right hand giveth and the left hand nickle-and-dimeth you”

  1. As Anonymous mention, Oren, you can deauthorize all devices once a year. So that should provide the authorization reset you need.

    I think the pricing is probably Apple doing the best they can to make things attractive to the consumer while applying reasonable pressure to the decided consumer-unfriendly music distributors. RIAA has been fighting for tiered iTunes pricing for a long time. While I’m sure the negotiations were much more complicated, I’d guess it boiled down to “tiered pricing for no DRM”.

    When it comes to video (movies and TV), Apple doesn’t have the leverage it has in the music arena. Apple is the largest music reseller in the US – but they don’t have that leverage with the MPAA (who are doing their best not to give Apple the power that the RIAA inadvertently granted).

    It’ll be interesting to see what the new economic reality does here, as both RIAA and MPAA have combined DRM and technology upgrades to make consumers re-purchase content with each new format. (VHS > DVD > Digital > Blu-Ray, etc)

    Should the new frugality become entrenched, the willingness of the average consumer to stay on that treadmill will evaporate – especially when they decide that their upsampling DVD player is good enough. And there goes a large portion of revenue the movie industry was hoping to see now that Blu-Ray “won”.


  2. I wouldn’t mind the 30 cents per track fee (since it’s the difference between what I paid for those tracks at the time and what I would have paid for the DRM-free versions at the time, had they been available then) if they’d let me pick and choose which tracks to upgrade. But of the ~10 albums I’ve bought from iTunes, I’ve bought about 6 of them on physical CD since then. I’ve already re-ripped those into a higher quality DRM-free format. I’d happily pay to upgrade the remaining 4 albums, but not if I also have to pay for the other 6 albums yet again.


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