iTunes Plus: All or Nothing Upgrades

Apple released iTunes Plus a few days ago. The “Plus” is higher-quality songs (twice the quality of “regular” songs—256 kbps vs. 128 kbps), and without any “DRM” or Digital Rights Management, which, among other things, means you’re no longer limited playing your music on five computers.

These “Plus” songs are selling for thirty cents more than “regular” songs (U.S. $1.29 vs. U.S. $0.99). If you buy an entire album of songs, you get the “Plus” versions at no extra charge (a nice freebie that should encourage more album sales).

While I appreciate these features, and look forward to the lack of DRM and better quality on any albums I buy in the future, I’m disappointed that I’m unable to upgrade my current music library without a massive charge.

The cost to upgrade to “Plus” is $0.30 per song, $0.60 per music video and for albums, 30% of its current price. This is a great-sounding deal… were I able to select the songs, videos and albums to upgrade. But instead of allowing me that choice, Apple requires that I upgrade my entire music library at once.

If you only own a few downloads from iTunes that can be upgraded, you may think “big deal”. As an example, the Gorillaz album Demon Days is upgradable for $3.90, while Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon would run you $2.40 to upgrade. If you have a couple dozen songs, a music video or two, and a couple of albums, it might cost you $10-$15 to do your entire collection.

What if, though, you bought several dozen songs and a dozen or more albums? Suddenly, even if all you wanted was a better quality of This is Why I’m Hot, you may be forced to spend upwards of a hundred dollars upgrading all your songs. Does that make any kind of sense?

I’m ticked off that I’m not given any flexibility here. There are only a few songs in my collection which are important enough to upgrade. Don’t force me to spend more than I need to, Apple. I mean, do I really need to hear every musical nuance of I Touch Myself? In the face of this, I’ve chosen not to upgrade any of my existing library unless and until Apple changes its upgrade policy.

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