Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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iTMS Cheap

245 words

I’ve seen this a number of times now… iTunes’ pricing differs from the standard €10 price tag for a whole album. But for good. With prices being lower. And that makes sense. Why should I pay €10 for a restricted and lower quality copy of what I can get on CD for €7 or 8? Old CDs are often for sale at discount prices. And iTunes will have to match those. I probably first saw those prices on some of the Naxos classical albums, which are also sold very cheaply on CD.

But this week I first saw Apple marketing those cheaper offering offensively with one of the banner ads at the top of iTMS linking to a page of cheap albums and reading ‘Fantastic albums. Great prices.’

iTMS banner ad

And – while certain record company executives beg to disagree – I think that this is a good thing. Much closer to a reasonable price for digitally crippled music with a dubious ability to last for years or even decades. Of course it’s only for old albums which you can buy cheaply as real CDs, so it’s not a big step in the big music market. But it’s nice to see that prices aren’t ridiculously fixed in iTMS.

Whether it’s really a good idea to advertise the ‘cheap’ aspects of iTMS, is a different issue, though. But at least in Germany where being a cheapskate isn’t seen as a contradiction of being cool, it probably makes sense.

October 8, 2005, 0:55


Comment by Dave2: User icon

Right now, I am proud to say that I have exactly ONE song in iTunes that I did not pay for. I can’t buy it… either online or via CD (at least not without having to pay $100 for a collectible), but I most certainly would if I could. Considering I have a library of 6721 songs, that’s something I CAN be proud of.

HOWEVER… the day that it costs more to buy new music digitally than to buy it on CD (i.e. the cost goes to $2 a track or something equally ridiculous), I will be STEALING my music from then on with no regrets. It’s insane that purchasing something requiring manufacturing, shipping, and distribution would cost less than purchasing the same song through iTunes.

If it’s a choice of the recording industry stealing from me, or me stealing from them… I know exactly how that struggle will be settled.

October 8, 2005, 1:22

Comment by d.w.: User icon

Nice. I have to say I had to read that twice, as I originally read “offensively” to mean “insultingly”, only to realize what you really meant.

The other nice thing is when you come upon an album with ~20 songs or so for $9.99 (or the equivalent)

The “100 Albums, Cheap” thing must be territory-specific,though, as I couldn’t find it in the U.S. store. And lest you say the bad crap always flows east across the Atlantic, James Blunt’s record was released here last week. shudder ;)

October 8, 2005, 14:59

Comment by ssp: User icon

Dave2: ad §1… this makes me wonder which song your’re talking about. ad §2… IMO the pricing has always been dangerously close as it is. Particularly for back catalogue works that are sometimes sold cheaply in stores. But if iTMS prices went up, they’d be much less attractive. The MBAs may not see it, but Mr Jobs apparently does. ad §3… should things get worse and the RIAA come after you or something, be sure to drop me a note so I can delete that snippet ;)

d.w.: I hope the choice of words is OK, though. I liked the ‘off… off’ thing. I saw the James Blunt thing advertised on telly the other day. As bad music goes… the girls seem to like it, as usual. But the only amusing thing about it remains that many people seemed to think he’s called James Bond when first hearing the name.

October 8, 2005, 15:29

Comment by d.w.: User icon

Sven — no worries. It’s just a quirk of spoken versus written English.

OF-fense-ly with the accent on the first syllable is the one you used, of course, but reading through the first time I read it as uh-FENSE-ly, which is the other meaning, roughly synonymous with “insultingly”.

If this were an audioblog post (ha ha) I wouldn’t have been confused. :)

October 9, 2005, 21:26

Comment by ssp: User icon

Interesting, Dave,

l hadn’t really thought about this properly, but looking at the Dictionary suggests why I wasn’t seeing the problem to begin with. In British spelling you seem to distinguish between ‘offensive’ and an ‘offencive’ (which is somewhat clearer when looking in my ‘Concise Oxford’ paper dictionary than it is in OSX’s digital one) which makes things clear.

Personally, and less nitpickingly, I keep thinking about the version I used first, because we use the same word in German :)

Let me also note that I am mildly amused by the OSX Dictionary’s extra remarks on offensively which contain a section starting with: “Looking for just the right word to express your dislike, distaste, disgust, or aversion to something?”

October 9, 2005, 22:51

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