Ultraq's Final MooCow

Bits and pieces by Emanuel Rabina

Hidden costs

In the past I've talked about how I show my age by sticking to buying CDs instead of buying digitally via iTunes or Amazon. I've even fallen out of grace with some friends by admitting what I've bought. The more egotistical side of me even goes on to think I'm one of the reasons the brick-and-mortar CD retail store is still around.

Well, as of a few weeks ago, that all changed. I installed iTunes.

iTunes logo
Sunnovabitch

This isn't the first time I've tried to install iTunes. I've tried maybe 2 other times in the past year, but each time, for unknown reasons, the iTunes installer would just die on me. The instant I OK'ed the install location (which was just the default), the installer would give me its equivalent of the fail whale, before giving me 1 choice: Quit. (It's not really a choice if there are no other options now is it?)

I didn't really want to delve any deeper: there was likely something screwed-up with my Win7 64-bit install, but I didn't care; I didn't really need iTunes to help me with any part of my life that wasn't already covered by some other program or process on my computer. I was installing iTunes to pique my curiosity and trial a different media player.

But this all changed where, in the last few months, I started following a lot more independent or lesser-known musicians on YouTube. Now I love YouTube, but every rose has it's thorns. I've already ranted about how crude YouTube comments have been. I mean, where else can you find an abundance of lines like:

Uhhh...? no one forced you watch it. Please murder yourself.
- (source)

Anyway, one of those musicians posted a cover of Avril Lavigne's new single, What the Hell, that was so different from the original and gave it so much meaning that I probably added another 100 to the video's view count. Eventually, I was compelled to buy it to show my appreciation towards the artist, so I downloaded the iTunes installer again, ran it, prepared myself for it to fall over and... whoa, it installed properly.

I told my brother about it installing successfully, and he asked me, "You didn't install iTunes 10 did you?" Turns out I did, which is the version he hates with every fiber of his being for a whole lot of what he considers "UI fails". This being my first ever iTunes installation (and probably the only reason it installed properly on my computer), I kept it. When a new version comes out, I'll just be impressed by it a whole lot more (or unimpressed by it a whole lot less) since what is the 'norm' for me is already a lot lower than those who were able to have previous versions of iTunes to remember.

So I bought the song, tweeted about it, and now I'm hooked. A whole new world of music is now available to me and they just make it so damn easy to lose my money in it. Even though I keep a budget spreadsheet to track my own expenditures, there are just some things that I don't track, namely small ticket items like gum or the coins that I give to some charities on their street collection day. iTunes songs are less than what I give those charities, hell they're even less than a pack of gum! So they never really make it into there and I don't feel I've spent anything until Apple e-mails me a receipt for my past week's worth of purchases and I look at them all and think, Oh damn...