When it comes to music downloads, the iTunes music store just doesn’t add up when compared to Amazon’s offering. In fact, I regret the small number of purchases I made from iTunes prior to Amazon launching their service in May of 2007. The two big issues with iTunes are DRM and cost.
DRM: Aside from my iPod, I have one other device that is able to play Apple’s DRM crippled files and that is an Airport Express. And by and large, it sucks. I have it connected to a Bose CD player in the kitchen which is about 15-20 feet from the Airport base station with a dry-wall wall between the two. Airport Express will play between 1 and 5 songs before it just stops playing music — no error on the iMac side, no indication that there is a problem on the AE side. It usually gets confused at the end of a song. The rest of the music needs of the house are served by Roku Soundbridge network music players. The Roku devices more or less just work with one problem — they can’t play any of the DRM crippled music from the iTunes store. Amazon’s downloads don’t have this issue and are of the same or higher quality as the iTunes files.
Cost: If a CD that I am looking to buy is available on Amazon download; I’m going to download it. That way I don’t have to deal with shipping and storage of the physical CD. The downloads can be significantly less expensive than the CD, especially for imports. And in every case, the download is $1-4USD cheaper from Amazon than from Apple. And did I mention, no DRM on the Amazon files. The Amazon downloader puts the files right into iTunes and even includes the CD cover art at the click of a button so there is no challenge or inconvenience in using Amazon’s downloads versus Apple’s.
So tell me again why I should buy music from Apple? Surely not just because it’s Apple and it’s ‘cool’.