I hope I don’t sound hypcritical because I do own two iPods and admire many things about the product itself, the iTunes service, innovation and style. Seriously, Apple is awesome in so many ways; it deserves a lot of credit for revolutionizing the music and broader entertainment industry.

But iPod and iTunes also suck in many ways. I dislike the proprietary nature of the iPod and iTunes software. I feel locked in, trapped and deprived — especially considering I have a few other digital music players, which I like a lot and would like to use more often.

Imagine if you purchased an awesome new plasma television and DVD rig from Acme, but the caveat was that you could never enjoy the copyrighted titles you own on another television-dvd setup again, unless it was from that same Acme company. People wouldn’t stand for it, but that’s what Apple is getting away with. It’s so disrespectful to me — the consumer — that I’m on the verge of completely defecting and going through the massively arduous process of disassociating all of my music from iTunes (a little over 20,000 titles) on my big hard drive at home.

You could say there was no deception going on — I voluntarily clicked "Agree" on the terms and conditions while registering the software and device during setup. But I say I was lured by an elegant , trendy product with consequences I couldn’t fathom until after I was immersed. I was blinded by the sparks of early attraction. Like a hot new date — a centerfold model — I was proud to be seen with those white earbuds. I eagerly said "I do" early on, but it’s looking like a doomed marriage. I got sucked in and now I’m paying the price.

With that, I’ve noticed iDon’t, an anti-iPod campaign from SanDisk, a competitor to Apple in the MP3 player market. I haven’t been impressed with SanDisk in the past, but this new campaign speaks directly to my iPod frustrations, in a BIG way. It’s a very interesting campaign, and I’m sure it will resonate with a lot of people. Personally, I’ve found the Creative players to be the best; I have two.

Final note: No MP3 players (or computers that hold the master library and files) are meant to last forever; electronics are meant to last a few years and then become obsolete, if they don’t die first. Couple that fact with the extreme difficulty associated with transfering iTunes music files among storage devices; it’s near impossible thanks to the DRM and proprietary nature of the software. There’s been a huge flood of new iPod owners recently, and I fear many of them will run into trouble when their iPods and PCs (running iTunes) begin to crap out. The devices are disposable, but consumers expect their music collection to last forever. Today, transferring libraries of music is extremely difficult – especially with iTunes. And that’s another reason I want out.


Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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