While Steve Jobs’ call to end DRM is making the rounds in the blogosphere, I have a bigger issue regarding iTunes that can be solved immediately, without any other companies involved – that of “Purchased” songs. Apple tracks which songs in my library I’ve purchased from […]

While Steve Jobs’ call to end DRM is making the rounds in the blogosphere, I have a bigger issue regarding iTunes that can be solved immediately, without any other companies involved – that of “Purchased” songs. Apple tracks which songs in my library I’ve purchased from the iTunes Store, which to date is more than 1,000, as “Purchased”, intimating that the other thousands of tracks I have should be labeled, instead as “Stolen”.

A Screen Cap of My “Purchased” Songs

Just last week, on a trip to New York, I stopped by the Virgin Mega Store, and plunked down $18.99 or so for a dual CD set. It seemed like a lot of cash when compared to the $9.99 price on iTunes for a typical album, but iTunes didn’t have it available. When I got home, the first thing I did was unwrap the CD, put them in the laptop and import to iTunes. The album, which cost me more than anything on the iTunes Store, saw its tracks added to the library, but not in “Purchased”. For all anybody knew, I downloaded them, or borrowed the CD from a friend.

I’m not about to start hoarding my retail music store receipts in the eventuality I might get a visit from my friends in the RIAA. Additionally, having purchased the songs from the iTunes store doesn’t, to me, make them have any higher an intrinsic value to those I got somewhere else. I understand the need for DRM, until things change, and that Apple has the opportunity to track what I’ve purchased or not. But I’m tired of being assumed a thief unless I shop exclusively from iTunes.

  1. Please take off your Che Guevara t-shirt and put down your anti-drm protest sign long enough to pay attention to what’s actually around you. Notice that the “purchased” smartlist shows up under the “STORE” section of iTunes interface. It’s not intimating that the rest of your music is stolen, it’s informing you that the things in its playlist were purchased from the iTunes Music Store.

    The songs which you purchased from the store might not hold any higher intrinsic value to you, but the information about where they came from damn well should. That playlist is there because there is no other easy way to know where that music came from. If you’re in the fraction of people who’s digital music library is 100% legit, then without it you have no easy way of tracking your digitally-purchased music: it doesn’t have a jewlcase or jacket like physical media. So in essence, it’s protecting those with legal libraries.

    Or if you’re just obsessive compulsive about organizing your music. Or if you want to send someone a song, you have an easy way to check if it’s DRMed or not. Or if you really hate the “purchased” list that much, just delete the songs from it. It works just like any other playlist, you can delete items from it, but they stay in your library. That way you’ll REALLY be sticking it to the man!

    Oh, by the way, I’m highly impressed that you have 1000 songs purchased from the iTunes store, and that you bought a ~$20 dual CD. You must be rofling in the moneycopter right now.

  2. I agree 110% .. I am in the radio biz and I get songs is as easy as 1-2-3.. I get them sent from the label throw them in my ipod right away as well. iTunes in itself is a mess and needs to be addressed now.

  3. But I’m tired of being assumed a thief unless I shop exclusively from iTunes.

    Louis, there’s absolutely nothing to be tired of. If you have the feeling, that anybody accuses you of anything, just don’t care about it. It’s really that dead simple.

    I too buy digital music and i download digital music for free. I download both legal, but NOT from iTunes. Trust me, i couldn’t care less of what anybody might accuse me of…

  4. I totally agree with Izzy. It’s a purchased playlist listed under the iTunes Store. Therefore, it is obviously music you purchased from—wait for it—the iTunes Store. It says absolutely nothing about anything else in your library, including by implication. They probably figured it was just a little too long (not to mention redundant) to say “Purchased from the iTunes store, which is not to say that you didn’t purchase your other music,” not to mention the fact that they give you a pop up dialog that tells you what the playlist is for when you go there the first time, and every time thereafter unless you check the box.

    So, in short, get off it.

  5. Wow. I think you are a way overly sensitive on this one. Just throw those receipts away and tell the RIAA they damn well better have a search warrant before they step a foot beyond your door. :-|

    Along with what has been said by in previous comments, the “Purchased” tag has one more very important use – it allows you to easily find and backup songs that you have no other copy of. I backup my Purchased music once a week so I have a backup. It’s a preset backup plan in Apple’s own Backup app. You could say that Apple is trusting you will have other legal copies of every other tune and only need your iTunes purchases backed up.

    Thanks for your faith in my Apple.

  6. Hello, long time listener, first time caller here. Of all the faults that iTunes may have, I have to say, this one seems the most negligible. Assuming I agree that it’s a fault at all. Which I don’t. Is the USDA assuming I’m too fat by printing a daily recommended allowance on my canned beets? I suggest doing whatever the heck you want to with your iTunes, and stop worrying who’s assuming what about your ethics. Make peace with your iTunes and you will find peace in yourself. Or something. Good luck.

  7. This is the way it’d go down if the proposed “issue” were to be “fixed”.

    - For a user that has purchased all of the music on their system, the “purchased” play list because pointless, since it contains all of the music on your computer and is then removed as a result of it’s uselessness.
    - People that want to backup only the songs in their collection that they’ve purchased online start to complain about how annoying it is to have to create their own dynamic playlist that only contains songs that use Apple’s DRM, meaning they were purchased online. Who doesn’t want to backup the files they’ve spent money on and cannot obtain again? (except for the one time re-send policy Apple has).
    - Apple puts in a special playlist under the Store category that lists all of the items you’ve purchased, to make it easy to back them up. What would you call it?
    - Some complaines that anything not on their “purchased” playlist may be seen as “stolen” by others.


  8. Um, yeah, I’d have to agree with the general consensus here. Nobody’s accusing anyone of anything; if you know where you got your music from, then your conscience should be clean. It’s a feature, not an accusation.

  9. Yeah…no ones saying you stole anything…martyr-complex much? the purchased list just lets me know what I should be sure to back up.

  10. You’re corporate paranoia has gone just a tad into the red zone. The plain implication, particularly in light of the fact that the “purchased” label is in the iTunes Store section of the sidebar, is that these are the items that have been purchased from the iTunes Store.

    On third thought, this must be some kind of joke, right? I mean no sentient being really thinks Apple is trying to send a message to its users that if it wasn’t purchased via the iTunes Store then it must have been acquired by illegitimate means.

    But one never knows . . .


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