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They're gonna have to make it easier than this

I thought it was time to take the advice printed on recent EMI CDs, to go to musicfromemi.com and see where I could get me some legal MP3 (or other - I'm not picky) downloads in exchange for modest payment to compensate the artists. Because compensating the artists is a good thing.

If you go to MusicfromEMI, you get to pick a country from a map from which to download stuff. When you pick the Netherlands, you get a luxurious 4 options, all of which (eventually) take you to the same actual download site, which then tells you to stuff your shiny, new and secure edition of Opera and use something up-to-date like 3-years-old, leaky Internet Explorer 6 (actually, 5 or higher) instead. Because I like having control over the studio computer and don't even have IE on the home machine, that Won't Do.

I was, however, prepared to look further and download iTunes and use its music store. While installing, that, I was disappointed to see that it blocked other software from access to a user's iPod, but since nobody in the studio has an iPod, that was trivial. However, trying to acess the store and begin buying some titles (I had some specific ones in mind that I was looking for that are extortionately priced if you try to buy them on CD), I was confronted with this message:

Itunes screenshot (partial)

Because, you know, this is the Netherlands. We all live in mudbrick huts here. We only co-patented the CD format and were only like the second fastest nation to adopt it in the 1980s, and more willing than any to pay through the nose for music. It's good policy to ignore a backward country like this one.

The only reason I had for installing iTunes in the first place was to be able to shop, so off the machine it goes.

Seriously, I want to be able to get with the times, do the buy-and-download thing and fill my computer with new music in an ethical and responsible manner. But somebody is going to have to provide me with the means to do so. And said means had better not suck.

Comments (5)


Face it: it's gonna suck. Big time. When this becomes available in the Netherlands, you're gonna pay e 1.50 a song (almost twice the price you'd pay with a billing address in the US) and you're still not going to find all the songs you want or get the choice you'd expect from a service like this. Just check the catalog for the services that are available in the Netherlands right now.

The question that comes to mind is "why make this sort of distinction at all?" Why can't I just open a Bitpass-style account backed by my credit card or Paypal account regardless of where on the big ball of dirt my hydrocarbons happen to be? What is the reason for this brick-and-mortar barrier?

I'm eager to shop, dammit! It's my God-given right!


Well, money of course :-)

Seriously: the root cause of this country based regulations is the non-cooperative BUMA-equivalents in all the countries worldwide. If you have an agreement to make a certain music catalogue available online in the US it means just that. No sneaky delivering stuff to dutch customers without an agreement.

By the way: the recently launched iMusic store for the UK is already under heavy fire for its poor content, ie. the lack of independent artists, which according to one source seem to make up 1 fourth of the market share.

Bleah to performing rights organisations. They still owe us 50 cents each for the Hooded Crow album.


I think Hendrik-Jan still has a few of those :-)


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