/ Music Store Hell

So I finally decided to go and give the 99 cent per song download thing a whirl. Wow, what a frustrating experience. First I tried to go through Windows Media Player’s built in browser. It suggested a music store called URGE. I figure, sure, why not. I searched for the song I was trying to find (“Somewhere Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole) but alas, that store didn’t carry it. Then I noticed that I could switch stores (still in Windows Media Player). So I figured, hey, MSN has a music store, lemme click on that! A few clicks later and I had the song I was looking for in my sights. I started typing in my credit card information only to get stuck on the State field. I couldn’t find my province in the list and I soon saw why. It was a US only store (thanks RIAA legal team!).

Using the Windows Media Player browser was just adding to the frustration of jumping through RIAA hoops, so I abandoned that and finally found the Canadian MSN music store (after enough effort to discourage any sane shopper) only to realize that the Canadian MSN music store didn’t carry the song I wanted! Great! Back to square one. All the while I’d been avoiding using iTunes because not only do they require you to download a 20+MB mammoth of an app. just to download their music (thanks Steve Jobs!), but they lock you in to iTunes and place ludicrous restrictions on you once you’ve purchased the song.

I was at the end of my rope. I wanted the song, so I relented, they had it and I was allowed to buy it. So I dutifully entered my o’ so precious credit card information and clicked “download”. I finally got the song only to realize that I had somehow “authorized” it’s use on 2 out of 5 PCs. WHAT THE… ?! Not only am I only allowed to play it on a limited number of PCs, but I’m also not allowed to burn more than 7 playlists with this song in it (at least that’s what I gathered from the ominous warning I received). Someone should give the boys in legal a medal.

All in all, I must say that purchasing a 99 cent song online was the most frustrating, belittling and annoying experience I’ve had with the ‘net in a while. It’s good to see that people are working overtime to put the customer first and make it easier for them to part with their hard earned dollars. No wonder there’s so much venom spewed at the RIAA. Forget “fortress America”, it’s “fortress Recording Industry”.

At least I can listen to the song I bought… at least for now. Until I switch PCs a couple of times, which I tend to do. Then, well, I guess I’m out of luck.

Thanks RIAA! You’re the best!


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