Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ranting about iTunes

OK, so the first one isn't really iTunes' fault, but rather the labels. But, damn, the greed is just disheartening. A few months ago I read something about an album of sea shanties that was being put out, with all sorts of contemporary rock/pop artists doing renditions of classic sea shanties. One of the songs was to be sung by Bono. Great! While I really didn't feel the need to buy the entire album's worth, 99 cents for a Bono track was a no-brainer. When the album finally popped up on iTunes, though, a small handful of the tracks were "album only" - not for separate resale. Including Bono's. Argh.

A month ago I heard about the new album of duets Tony Bennett was doing, including one with, you guessed it, Bono. Great! 99 cents for Bono sailing through a standard with Bennett. No brainer. "Album only." Much louder argh.

Then today I went to the site to get Fiona Apple's rendition of "Sally's Song" from the just-reissued Nightmare before Christmas soundtrack, which includes a bonus CD of artists covering some of the songs. I already own the album, and have no desire to hear any of the other covers. But Fiona as Sally for 99 cents? No - of course - "album only."

The greed amazes me. But so does the shortsightedness. They could have made 99 cents off of me. Instead they made nothing. Maybe I'm daft, but it seems unlikely to me that there are that many people willing to buy the whole album for that one track or two. It seems like they're cutting off their noses to spite their faces. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they have the market research to show that this is the financially smarter move - that enough customers will fork over the $9.99 to overcome the 99 cents they lose from people like me. But either way it's a crappy way to do business. Isn't it really just a form of bait and switch to offer 99 cents a track - except for the racks they suspect will be most enticing? Isn't that, you know, unethical?

The second issue I have is iTunes fault, though. Two weeks ago I paid my $1.99 to get the second ep of Heroes. I had sen the first, missed the second, and had the third taped. But the download didn't work. So late last week, I contacted customer service, and they tried to fix it. Still didn't work. This past weekend, NBC re-aired episodes two, three, and four. So now I had on tape the ep I had missed. But when I told customer service that I wanted a refund, since they had failed to deliver the product and now I had it through other means, they refused, saying "all sales are final."

?!?!?! What "sale?" I never received the product I paid for! But they insist on taking a third try at actually delivering it rather than giving me a refund. So much for Apple's vaunted "we make your life easier" ethos.

Until Whenever

Update: Customer service responded to my complaint abou the "all sales final" thing and gave me a free credit for a video, in addition to getting the Heroes ep to finally download. So yay iTunes!

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