His Steveness spun his usual magic yesterday supplying substance where there only was talk. Along with EMI, as everyone by now knows, Apple will be selling DRM-free music. Yay! Well done Apple. But we still have some problems, namely that ridiculous artificial anachronism known as a ‘country’ or in modern wonk speak “alleged territorial restrictions.”
This is a particular bone of contention amongst those of us who live in the tiny principality of Sweden in ‘old Europe.’ It works like this;
1. Buy music from iTunes
2. Move away from home and lose your music
This is because Apple somehow just lay down and played dead when the record companies forced them to create artificial territories for payment and copyright. The record companies said you have to sell only Spanish music to Spaniards, Greek music to Greeks, etc. So when I bought some of the finest American music around and then moved to Sweden, my music was no longer authorized and cannot be played. That’s right, they took my music back after I paid for it.
iTunes removes authorization to play a particular song if your address changes. When I moved, I wanted to continue to receive my credit card bills, much as it pained me, but that de-authorized my account in Apple’s eyes. I now had to re-authorize my purchases with the Swedish store. But there are huge holes in their catalog and a large portion of the American music I bought cannot be purchased at the Swedish iTunes. The music I bought shows up in iTunes, but I cannot play it because the authorization dialog never actually authorizes, just endlessly asks me to re-authorize.
What a bizarre Kafkaesque layer of needless bureaucracy! Why are they hobbling sales of their own product? Do they think that Europeans won’t like American music? Have they heard of this thing called the Internet? It allows you to sell anything to anyone (see eBay). Is it any wonder that the EU commission is sending a letter of objection on behalf of its citizens saying that Apple and the record companies currently “violate the EC Treaty’s rules prohibiting restrictive business practices.”
Steve, fix this! I thought your forcefield would make the record execs kneel at your feet, but apparently they managed to convince you to hobble iTunes needlessly.
PS - I’ll expect another blog posting from you on this ASAP.