Apple Should Drop Notion of “Purchased Music”

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”.

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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.

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