iTunes Epic Fail / Amazon For the Win

iTunes sucks. No other way for me to say it. Which is sad, because I was a big fan when it was first released. Yea! Digital music. I can buy tracks online and save the plastic and the paper that go into making a CD.

Of course, the first time I tried to share tracks with my wife, who had created her own iTunes account, I learned the first crappy lesson about iTunes and DRM. Yeah, not so easy to share tracks with someone living in your own household. From what I hear we could have authorized each others computers to play the other person’s tracks, but, bah…that’s too much trouble. And anyway, I have never owned an iPod. I used a Rio Karma for a while, which was a great little music player, and now I have an Archos 605, which was the iPod Touch before there was one. So actually taking that music with me was a pain because it was in a proprietary format that I had to hack to get onto anything else.

Today, Apple announced that they are going to make all the music on iTunes DRM-free. Hallelujah. The lords of Apple have decreed that you shalt be able to take your music anywhere. Long after I figured out that DRM sucked and started buying CDs again. And long after Amazon started selling DRM-free MP3s in a completely simple to use and awesomely cheap way.

The thing is, their PR says, “And if you own stuff from iTunes, you don’t have to repurchase it to get the DRM-free tracks.”

“Yea!” I thought, “I’m going to reinstall iTunes and get the DRM-free tracks so I can now move them wherever I want.

Then I read the next sentence of their happy little press release. “For just 30 cents a track…” WHAT! Wait, you said I don’t have to rebuy the tracks. Excuse me for being lame in this crappy economy, but 30 cents a track appears to be me rebuying the tracks. Let me just be clear. Free = not buying. Any amount greater than free = buying.

It seems like lately, everytime I talk to people about music, I hear that they’re buying off iTunes. And I mention Amazon, and that person goes off and checks it out and is absolutely flabbergasted by how kewl their music store is. And how cheap. I bought the latest All-American Rejects album there for $2.99.

Let me repeat that. Day of release. $2.99. I had to actually check twice to make sure that’s what I was buying, it was so friggin cheap.

Even if you use iTunes to organize your music, Amazon provides a tiny little downloader app that automagically adds the tracks to your iTunes library.

Now don’t get me wrong. I understand what’s going on here. The music industry was pissed at Apple for actually showing them they had a business model in the digital age that went beyond people trading things for free. And so Apple was stuck with the whole DRM thing because the music industry wanted to screw them over by creating some competition in other online stores like Amazon.

But hell if I am going to give the iTunes store any more of my cash. Amazon gave me 25 Christmas tracks this year FREE. As in, no cash left my pockets to get them. Not like stupid iTunes asking me for more money to remove DRM from tracks that are already sitting on my hard drive.

Amazon rocks. So rock out with them. Here’s a link to free songs to get you started.

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