The music industry never learns. There was a time not so long ago when the music industry was in chaos with plummeting sales. Illegal downloading was to blame. Along came Apple's iTunes and millions stepped forward to buy music legitimately online. I was one of those people who had dropped out of buying music all together. Not because I was illegally downloading music, because I wasn't. I just didn't go to music stores anymore. Then the iPod and iTunes came along. It brought my wife and I back into the music market again as it did for tens of millions, I suspect. So when I read the CNET article this morning about the music industry wanting to get back into our faces and gouge us again for buying legal music, my head popped.
The part that got me going was when I read about the music industry seriously thinking about charging for iTunes 30 second song sampling. Okay, now I know that these guys have flipped. I guess they're eager to set off another firestorm amongst consumers that will only result in a deeper boycott of legitimate purchases of music. C'mon, push us and see what you'll start.
You see, I already think that Apple is unfair with their silly 30 second sound bite sample to begin with. I think that iTunes customers should get to hear any song in their store, in full, at no charge, at least once. Why? Because it's deceitful at times what 30 seconds that Apple has chosen to feed us.
Here's a case in point, though it's likely not a familiar one to most, I'm afraid. It's one of the tunes from the Babel movie sound track called "Bibo No Aozora." It seemed to strike me as something I'd like to have in my library. In the movie, of course, you only get to hear a snippet. So I went to the iTunes Store to listen to their 30 second sample and of course they played the nice quiet segment – and all was fine. I went over to YouTube to hear it and even had the ability to see the artist play that tune. Check out the video below.
How can you not like that tune? Even if it's not your type of music, you could appreciate the subtle passion that the artist is conveying. Count me in! So off to Apple's iTunes Store I go to buy it. Ouch – double ouch - crash! At the 3:00 minute mark, the iTune's version of the song starts to go sideways off-key. At the 3:40 mark, the tune goes to hell in a hand basket - Off key wacko. What the heck did I just pay for? A heap of bad - is what.
Look, everyone can appreciate that an artist is due their fair share of the pot - being that it's their music. But they have to understand too that there has to be some give and take here. If I can't just sit back after work and shop around for music on iTunes to find that special odd ball hidden treasure for free, I'm not going to shop at all. Then we both lose. And I've been burned a dozen times before with only getting a 30 second sound bite – and I know that I'm not alone here. It's time for both the artists and Apple to give loyal iTunes paying customers the ability to listen to a tune in full once for free. This nonsense of even thinking about passing along a charge for listening to a sound bite is going to get a lot of people angry all over again.
When will these guys ever learn?