Bought my first online album


Convenience finally won me over. I made my first online music purchase with iTunes plus, the DRM free music shop of Apple. Initially, when they launched this shop, they chose to offer music at a higher price than the DRM music. A few weeks ago, they reduced prices to what they were charging for their other music. Additionally, they made deals with several more music companies so the DRM free selection is now getting quite interesting.

The album I just purchased is Blue Finger, by Black Francis, aka. Frank Black. The price is somewhat high but I wanted to have this album nevertheless and it is only available online so far. People who know my music taste probably know this guy is well represented in my collection with just about any album he ever produced under any alias. Most of these albums I actually have on good old CD. However, in recent years his music has gotten less interesting. What I heard so far from Blue Finger he seems to have changed style again. The sound is more raw and much more pleasing to my untrained ear.

Tight black rubber

“Tight black rubber” is track 5 on this album and one of the better songs on it with a catchy but simplistic bass line.

Anyway, about the experience of using iTunes. It was quite confusing I’m afraid.

First of all, I had to accept terms of usage. OK no problem except that they were in Finnish. I am actually in Finland but like most people on the planet don’t actually speak Finnish. Beautiful language but my knowledge of it is limited to moi (hello, how are you today, fine weather isn’t it) and Kiiiiiiitos (thank you very much, I’m much obliged) and moi moi (goodbye, cu later). Finns are people of little words but they generally mean well. So I just agreed to a document that I cannot possibly have read or understood. But it is not like I would have payed much attention to it had it been written in English or Dutch. Thankfully the ok button was in English.

Secondly, it asked me several times whether I wanted to buy the album before and after agreeing to the terms. Lets see how often they bill me :-).

Finally, the whole iTunes plus thing, which means no DRM, was the bit that won me over. Unfortunately iTunes was a little vague on what I was actually purchasing. It initially listed itunes plus next to the album, which appeared to be the only option (good), so I clicked buy and iTunes informed me that this album was also available in iTunes plus. WTF do you mean ‘also’ anyway I assumed (again) everything was probably ok and once more confirmed that I actually wanted to buy the freaking album.

Seems to have worked since it is downloading now. The first track is actually 256 kbit AAC format and plays fine outside of iTunes so I assume I got the right album without the DRM crap and at the €9.99 price all albums cost instead of the much higher fee they charged until recently for DRM free music. All in all this is worth repeating. I have several more obscure albums on my wishlist that I would be willing to purchase under these terms.