I was a Napster kid. I know how to use BitTorrent. I have always chosen the quickest, simplest way to get audio and video into my possession. Usually, that’s through iTunes. I’m willing to pay a small price to get my entertainment quickly and in high quality.
But my last experience with an iTunes-purchased mini-series has soured me a bit on the iTunes experience. You see, I bought the Battlestar Galactica miniseries right after it came out about five years ago. Well, I actually bought a license to view the downloaded file on the computer. I understand I can’t actually purchase something that isn’t tangible and doesn’t have a finite amount.
And now I can’t find it. Whether I erased it during a cleaning binge, copied it to a backup and had a corrupted file or an upgrade ate it — I realize not all of that is possible — I cannot located it in my possession. Because I had an account with iTunes that I have to log in to, I assume that the record of it is there and I can easily retrieve another copy. Really, what does that bandwidth cost Apple? A pittance. Hell, I’d even pay for that.
But I can’t. Without the order number and receipt, which I don’t have, I cannot do that. Apparently they are treating the purchase as a tangible object and don’t keep their own records. This seems weird to me.
Putting iTunes purchases in the cloud would alleviate this problem. Allow us to re-download for a small fee, allow us to stream for a subscription rate, but whatever you do don’t act like something actually changed hands when I downloaded those ones and zeros five years ago.
Either I own a physical product or I bought a license to use one of an item that can be infinitely copied without real penalty. There’s no way I should be able to look up my purchase history and NOT download another copy. Having a license means I’ve already paid for that.
What say you? Are you interested in an iTunes cloud approach? Do you think purchasing a license is the same as a physical object? Will we really own anything in the future?