Saturday, January 22, 2011

digital rape management

when i download music, i tend to do so legally. this is usually pretty easy considering that most of the stuff i listen to is available for free under a creative commons license and distributed through simple websites and hosting services.

but occasionally i stumble across a band i like that is actually selling its music. when this happens, i normally dont mind shelling out a few bucks for a digital ep. i like supporting musicians i dig. when this can be done through a netlabel or a simple hosting site like beatport or soundcloud, its pretty painless. but if its done through a huge conglomo such as amazon, itunes, or a shitty site like bandcamp, the enjoyment of the music and the happy feeling of supporting underground musicians is quickly overshadowed by the FUCKING LUNACY involved with downloading from these types of services.

yesterday i decided to spend about 25 bucks on 4 different eps from three different bands, all of which were hosted on one of the aforementioned sites. it is now over 24 hours later and despite the fact that i paid for the music, i still do not posess it. lets start at the beginning, shall we?

i start off by going to and attempting to download the black mass ep for five bucks. bandcamp uses paypal for its transactions, which is a huge mistake. not only is paypal notorious for stealing people's money, it is also incredibly annoying to use. i havent used paypal since the great ebay moving sale of 2006, and i've changed bank accounts several times since then. so when i try to pay for the album i get redirected about sixteen different times because paypal keeps trying to get me to log into my account to pay for this ep, instead of just allowing me to pay with the card i'm currently using. it expects me to give up all my new bank information as well as my phone number in order to "pay more securely", which would entail a bunch of typing, many redirects through "secure" connections and about 20 minutes of my time, all for a FIVE FUCKING DOLLAR PURCHASE. i finally manage to wade through all of that and bandcamp then gives me the slowest possible download speed after "preparing" my download for so long that i thought my browser had frozen. two hours and five hard earned dollars later i finally had my THREE SONG ep.

then i head over to amazon to get "the cold world melts" by soft metals. instead of just allowing me to pay for the goddamn thing and download it, amazon now expects me to download another ridiculous and useless program called "amazon mp3 downloader" so that i can "download songs straight into itunes and windows media player", which i absolutely DO NOT WANT TO DO because itunes is the most useless piece of music library software ever written, closely followed by windows media player. i want a zip folder to put on my desktop and i'll organize my own music folders thank you very much. so since i didnt want to download their stupid fucking program, i had to download the songs one at a time, requiring about 30 clicks of the mouse and 15 minutes of my time. then i had to manually download the cover art. another hour and five more hard earned dollars later i finally have the ep i wanted.

now, lets talk about why itunes sucks so fucking bad. not only is it one of the least user friendly products i have ever interacted with, it is slow as hell and suffers from the same problem all macintosh products have: you cant do what YOU want to do with it, only what THEY want you to do with it. once you get the music from itunes, you have to jump through all kinds of hoops to use the songs with any other program and you have to practically sacrifice an infant to some dark and obscure god to listen to them outside of itunes. there's also the fact that you have to have an itunes account to buy music from itunes. all of this is related somehow to their idea of digital rights management, more properly termed as digital restrictions management, ostensibly so that you cant share the shit with anyone else who wants to hear it. well, i didnt want an itunes account, so i used my girlfriends account and a gift card she had in order to download three eps: introducing: tense, another ep by tense that i forgot the name of, and an album by darktown strutters. i got through enough of itunes' bullshit so that i thought i had the three eps downloading. i kept getting the error message "the itunes store is unavailable. please try again later." then itunes promptly crashed. the next problem with itunes and with many appications these days is that there is a new version every week or so and if you're perfectly happy with the old version well thats too fucking bad because it just wont work anymore when you try to actually use it for something.

so tonight i waited for two hours for the new version to download and install so that i can start torturing myself again. after all this bullshit, it's no wonder people pirate the shit out of all forms of media. its not just because they dont want to pay for it, although that is a big reason, it's because there is so much bullshit involved in doing things the right way that it is just not worth 30 hours of my time and a bunch of my hard earned money for a couple five dollar eps. if i could have pirated these things, i would have by now. but i'm cursed by the fact that the bands i listen to tend to be so fucking obscure that no one is out there sharing their shit for free.

somebody bring steve jobs over here so i can pull his head out of his ass and replace it with molten iron while i enjoy his screams of pain. this is what i feel like when i use itunes, steve. like molten iron in my colon.



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