London Free Press tries and fails to explain online music usage limits

“Consumers may not be getting what they think when they pay to download music… Among the first pay music services were Apple’s iTunes and Napster 2.0. Most of these services sell songs for about $1 each,” David Canton writes for The London Free Press. “These legitimate paid download sites are not always what they seem to be. Although consumers often assume they are buying unlimited rights to use of the file, they are not.”

Canton writes, “For example, the Napster and MusicMatch stores let its customers transfer the songs they buy up to three times. This means that files can only be stored on three computers before the licence expires and they can be copied no more. The new version of iPod allows five copies. After those set number of uses, consumers will have to purchase the file again should they wish to move the file to a different computer.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: David Canton has gotten a little confused on this whole thing. Where David wrote, “The new version of iPod allows five copies,” we believe he meant “songs purchased from Apple’s iTunes Music Store allows up to five Mac
and Windows PCs to play the songs.” You can listen to the songs on an unlimited number of iPods. Hey, it is confusing when you’re used to buying a physical CD and now there seems to be all of these new limits. We’ll ignore the also-rans like Napster and MusicMatch, as we do when we purchase music for our iPods, and concentrate on Apple’s iTunes Music Store usage:

The iTunes Music Store lets you choose from a library of over 1 million songs currently. You can purchase and download the music you want for 99


  1. For examples, iTMS have promoted the “iTMS exclusives” and jam sessions. Now there there is no label premium price involved and it is – as you say – a venue for artists and listener to interact directly. Some of those tracks are on no CD nor will be, hence I believe/hope no big music label gets money there.

    Anyone more details on those tracks?

  2. david writes:

    “When I buy a CD I can play it, record it, back it up, sell it, give it away, let a friend borrow it, and play it where ever I choose. When I buy music from the iTunes store I can play it (but only on an iPod, a Mac or a PC), I can record it at a SECOND loss of quality, I can back it up. But I cannot sell it, I cannot give it away, I cannot let a friend borrow it, and I can only play it where I have my approved computer or iPod.”

    Everything’s OK except that the “I can record it at a SECOND loss of quality” is not true. Just record it in a lossless format (AIFF for example) and you will faithfully transcribe everything (except the DRM ). Therefore you only get ONE loss of quality, that being the AAC format.

  3. BTW, when one of us “lends” a CD to a friend and that friend copies the CD faithfully, bit for bit, we (and our friend) have conspired to deprive artists of the fruits of their labors, something John Locke considered a quite unethical act.

    Just because the record companies (or the RIAA) are cheating the artists as well and the just because the artists are putting out crap and cheating us, and just because CDs cost too much anyway — none of these mitigate that ethical standard.

  4. It should be said that iTunes songs play on an unlimited number of macs or pcs (just five at one time). The same cannot be said of the windows music stores, which only allow three computers forever.

  5. You know what? Buying a CD, buying a digital music file, it’s all pointless. You want to support the artist? Go see a concert. Write the artist a check, and mail it to them. It’s hardly noticed by the artist when you buy their CD. It’s noticed by the distributors. I make $7 an hour, I go to school, paying many thousands of dollars to instructors to make me smarter. I’m not going to pay the same to a record executive to make me dumber. I paid thousands to Apple for a very nice computer, I’m not going to pay them again to enjoy it.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.