Tangent — The Dirty Secret about iTunes, etc.

I listen to music in iTunes and own a few iPods, but I’m careful about how I handle what I buy there or Amazon mp3, etc., and for good reason.

Who inherits your iTunes library?
Why your digital books and music may go to the grave

Many of us will accumulate vast libraries of digital books and music over the course of our lifetimes. But when we die, our collections of words and music may expire with us.

Someone who owned 10,000 hardcover books and the same number of vinyl records could bequeath them to descendants, but legal experts say passing on iTunes and Kindle libraries would be much more complicated.

read the rest here

So much for the music industry being ripped off.

No, I’m not on an Apple rant this week, or maybe I am.

And nope, not even going to discuss my Kindle.


  1. I don’t disagree with the point that this is a ripoff, but was it ever a secret? This problem is what’s kept me off of using much digital media for years — not just that my heirs won’t get it, but that I sometimes can’t get it or don’t have rights to move it from platform to platform. I’ve started buying digital music, but anything I think I am going to want to listen to for more than 3 months I buy in hard copy. I have a Kindle now — but I only buy things for it that I know I am going to want to trash. If I know it’s a text I’ll want to own, I buy a book.

  2. I guess MarketWatch thought it was not known enough and did a story on it. It’s also been my experience that many do not think about this. It’s good you have.

    Definitely a good plan to buy the hard copy of what you want to keep. Sadly, CDs deteriorate over a 15-20 year period, so I always retain the soft copy too. Usually uploaded to online storage. Rule of thumb for me: keep permanent files at least two places. Sometimes I keep them in three places.

  3. I actually had no idea about this, especially that it hasn’t been mentioned in Poland. I keep my ebooks on an extension drive, but should think about storing them somewhere else too, as backup. I actually kept them all on my Kindle 3 for a while, and let me tell you, when they say it holds over 3000 book, it might do, but the device doesn’t function properly.
    That really gave me something to think about Frenz! Thanks!

  4. There are other considerations than just storage. Music bought in iTunes is encoded with DRM (Digital Rights Management) data, which means that if the music is transferred somewhere else, it’s still read as being authorized for play under your iTunes account. There is also DRM free music from iTunes purchased via iTunes plus. It costs more. I just buy DRM free elsewhere and usually for less.

  5. Oh, and generally the DRM free is not as good a quality. So there is that to consider. Buying the CD makes it all irrelevant. So if I like the music enough to keep a long time, I buy the CD and import to iTunes.

  6. I’m trying to finish a post, but maybe our resident iTunes expert, @sinjoor, will contribute.

  7. I don’t see it as a problem. All you have to do is leave a list of your account info and passwords in case of accidents and emergencies. I have one because if something happened to me, my loved ones would need to know it.

  8. It’s not a problem if people take the precautions you’re talking about. Most people don’t think about it hence the MarketWatch piece.

  9. And it matters if someone doesn’t want to depend on maintaining an iTunes account. I don’t and strictly my personal preference.

  10. GREAt post! Me an Expert? I’ve been considering the convenience it must be to have music in the cloud – that is likely the future? Lots of people are happy with radio subscription but I’m very specific when I like music and I love to hear it when I want it.
    what you’re bringing up doesn’t apply only to music but also to apps which is something I’ve been thinking about. My kids run their iPods of my account currently being still young uns and all but with seperate apple accounts, at some point they will want /have to build their own app content .. I’ve thought about building that for them but just haven’t gotten round to organizing that.
    Most of my content is also DRM free and imported as mp3 (versus standard iTunes ACC format just so it could be compatible if i ever wanted to change platforms) but convenience weighs out at times and I have bought from iTunes (on an external drive & all backed up) I get the free DL every week – and I love the morning download from The Key (XPN) supposedly minor quality but I can’t tell half the time (someone did convince me to import all my stuff at custom higher quality though than what you buy) – I have tried out the Amazon music store for couple of songs .. I would like to hear where you get yours :)
    – I currently have my iTunes account permitted with 3 computers mainly cause of computer upgrades, I have to look into removing my older machines. All this requires a bit of skill beyond buying cd’s and popping them in a player – my guess is that music in the cloud might be a winner out because of the convenience and isn’t that what everybody wants?
    It certainly changes the experience how we discovered music versus how our kids do :) “can you add that to my playlist?”
    I haven’t written down my account info : I definitely guard the password :) Good point adding that to your will (or the many other passwords that stores personal information) in theory even without a credit card attached the account can remain alive.

    I for one would like you to write a post on Kindle – I’m not sure if you followed the whole mess with Stanza (after iOS5 update) my first favorite eReader, though currently cleared up it’s future is uncertain. It’s terrible for those who don’t live on US soil and don’t have Amazon to fall back on. My biggest grip with Kindle or eReader books is that they don’t include the blurb on the book – the back cover – there should be a way that you could flip the cover, at least without having to go online!
    Or the fact that Amazon’s public domain books don’t list chapters, you have to spend money: its extra! I’m aware Kindle goes by percent you are in the book .. sometimes you want to know how many chapters you have to go!!
    Anyway can’t resist giving a shoutout to the Feedbooks site which has the prettiest format of public domain books.

  11. Amazon MP3s are DRM free MP3s, or at least they are in the UK MP3 store. Yay. The thing with DRM is, as long as you have a decent sound card, there’s nothing to say you can’t simply play the song in one program and record it with another. That’s what I used to do when I was using MSN’s service, as their files had restrictions on them (like how many times you could burn it to disc). I mean, sod that! If I want to make fifteen different compilation CDs for me to listen to in the car and all need to have that one particular track, I don’t want to get a “no, sorry, all your burns of this file are now used up, thank you for playing”.

    There are places to get free public domain books for Kindle without involving Amazon, such as http://www.manybooks.net – now I can read all the classics I’ve ever wanted but without having to fork out a lot of money and shelf space for the hardcopies!

    Just the other day, I read something about a games company backing down on DRM-protected games. They were going to stop doing that. The comments from gamers reading that were very positive – several said that they were now going to buy the first game from that company in X years. Many stopped buying when DRM was brought in, because the problem with DRM is that those who want to go around it will find a way, which includes pirates as well as those of us who just say “hey you can’t tell me what I can and can’t do with the stuff I’ve paid for!” And those who HAVE legally purchased something with DRM get frustrated and annoyed when it kicks in and tells them they can’t use their own game. If I need to reinstall my computer five times because it keeps having issues, I wouldn’t be able to use that program, because it can only be installed three times. Crazy!

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