Dear iTunes

Your TV shows are overpriced. Films, too – the whole shebang. Your music is more reasonable (when it’s not cheaper on Amazon). To help you understand why, here is what I want to do with my TV shows and films:

  • Watch them on my computer (or my tablet when traveling elsewhere).
  • Be able to lend them to a friend.
  • Not pay the earth for them.

iTunes, you get half of the first bullet point. I do not own an iPhone/iPad, and I don’t want either of them. You won’t allow me to watch TV shows I get from you on anything other than a computer or either of the above (and certainly not on heretic Android devices gasp). Strike one.

Next point –  if I think something is God’s gift to television, I cannot share it with a friend. No, not in your sickening desperate social-media free-advertising way, but in a physical here-watch-this-it’s-awesome kind of way. Lend someone a TV series and they may buy the follow ups. Don’t lend someone a TV series and, unless it’s Game of Thrones, they’ll probably never watch it. Strike two.

Three. I earn a good salary. I work hard for it, I trained for a long time to get it, and I appreciate it. That doesn’t mean I want to burn money. Explain to me why I would buy, say, the first couple of seasons of Suits off iTunes (which in SD quality would cost me £27.98) when I can (and did) buy the first two seasons in boxed-set form for £15.49, delivered. Over £10 cheaper, for the same product with more flexibility – I can lend it to someone. I can sell it on, if I chose to (which I won’t, because it’s excellent). I can rip it to my hard drive and watch it on my phone, or my tablet, or whatever the hell else I want to watch it on. Oh, and when I die (and DVD is still the favoured format for video), my children can inherit it.* Who would I pay an extra £10 to not have that?

Now, I know proponents of iTunes will say helpful things about immediate access or cloud downloads or how much they love their iPhone, but is it really worth the restricted usage and additional cost? Not for me. I am a very long way from a technophobe but if something works better without technowizardry then I’ll stick to that. Take the DRM off and I’m sold, I really am, but as is? Thanks, but no thank you.

Faithfully, because I know not the individual addressee,


PS – I also don’t like the now not-so-new iTunes that makes finding songs you like and looking through them SO MUCH HARDER.

itunes logo used without permission

*Probably more pertinent to music collections, but hey.


4 responses to “Dear iTunes

  1. To be fair, if you don’t use Apple stuff then you’re not really the target market for iTunes; there’s Google Play on Android phones, which IIRC also has a reasonably good range. Also bear in mind that (for all these services), things like prices and restrictions on lending to other people essentially come down to the licence agreements that studios etc are willing to sign up for. If the licences result in prices that are higher than physical media, there’s not much Apple or anyone else can do about it.

    FWIW, I buy films/TV on blu ray because it’s higher quality, and music on vinyl (with Amazon AutoRip, for listening on my iPhone). Not a big fan of buying stuff just in digital format, for most of the reasons you’ve mentioned really.

    • If anything I find Google Play to be even more limited – at least I already use iTunes (on my MacBook Pro) for music. I tend to buy most stuff on disc – I choose between blu-ray or DVD depending on what I’m watching. Suits doesn’t need HD whereas Into Darkness certainly does!

  2. After years of avoiding it, my kids finally talked me into getting an iPhone. I actually like it more than I thought but music is definitely cheaper on Amazon. I don’t use a lot of apps but I did discover Pandora and it’s great, despite the commercials. I can always watch free movies on Hulu.

    • I think iPhones are good pieces of kit, although I personally prefer the additional freedom and choice I can get through android (I’ve used both in the past). The integration with Apple is an effective tool – I could see how people using only Apple products might get suckered into using only itunes as well. Good to know it’s not everyone!

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