More “Crippling”(1) of Digital Content

So I just went to the iTunes Store to purchase the new Elders of Zion EP. Elders of Zion is the musical project of my friend and longtime collaborator Joel Schalit (who also has a new blog), and I was excited to get the album.

Now, normally I don’t buy from iTunes in general, since I don’t believe in purchasing music with DRM or that requires a specific platform to play (ie, what happens to the music and my rights to listen to it when Apple goes out of business?). But I made a special exception for Joel.

Except that his album is only for sale in the U.S. store, and I can only buy music from the Canadian store because my Apple account is registered in Canada. I could change my country for my Apple account, except that I have a bunch of applecare agreements on the same user ID that I wouldn’t want to screw up. Granted, this may be the fault of the label and not iTunes, but it’s disappointing either way.

Just another example of how the internet facilitates quick and easy exchange of music, and how some for profit enterprises — many of whom stand to profit mightily from it — are obsessed with finding new ways to control it.

1. I do hate the phrase “crippled content” which is a classically able-ist term. But I’m at a loss for how to properly insult digital content that would work except that some company has added some junk code or provision to make it harder to use — ostensibly to protect their profits. Suggestions?

5 replies on “More “Crippling”(1) of Digital Content”

  1. both intriguing. I wonder if there’s suitable latin for “user”? Then it could be “caveat [latin for user]”

  2. Hey Jonathan,

    My apologies for the cross-border commerce problems with our record. It actually will appear in the Canadian iTunes store in the near future. The deal our label – Sounds From the Roof – has with the iTunes store is international. The record is already on sale in the UK iTunes store.

    I ran one of the very first electronic labels to join iTunes (during its first year operating.) When my former label – Asphodel – finally signed an international distribution agreement with the company, what I observed was that new records were slowly ‘turned on’ in different national iTunes stores over time. The UK always came first, followed by Germany and then France etc. A new record didn’t go live internationally at once.

    I wish it was different, but its not, unfortunately. I would imagine most of the delay issues are bureaucratic. Apple is as profit-driven as the next company, and I am sure that if they could make something a record go live in every country that they have a digital sales outlet, they would. I bet you that there are bigger artists whose labels can compel them to do such.

    Best, Joel

  3. It’s not Apple that’s at fault here — it’s the territorial licensing agreements of the record companies which must obey national copyright law… a little like the DVD regions with national code thrown in. Apple tried to circumvent this originally but the record companies insisted that the old models of distribution simply be transferred online. Oh well, just wait a few years until the big octopus 8 ( or is it 3 now with sony-bmg?) collapses entirely. It’s happening.

Comments are closed.