I have a friend who we’ll call Jambo. Jambo loves everything Apple. I swear to god this little gif was created just for him.
When iTunes debuted he trumpeted it like it was the second coming of Christ. Now my friend was right in that iTunes certainly changed the way people buy music. Buy a song for 99 cents, that’s freaking brilliant. But where Jambo’s tin god, Steven Jobs, screwed up was he gave us a player that makes us long for the days of RealPlayer 1.0.
Let’s count the ways the inadequacies of this wretched beast:
Format: When it was initially released, all music downloaded was stuck in 128kbps in the AAC format. Gee, 128. How 1998 of you Mr. Jobs. Now they introduced iTunes Plus which upgraded the downloads to a magnanimous 192kbps! Yep, 192 was downright acceptable – back in the days of Napster. I know I can never dream of these tools actually going lossless but get it up to 320 at least.
Library management: Good luck here. Ever tried to clean up dead files on iTunes? On WinAmp, you open the library menu and click on “remove dead files”. Files vanish. Windows Media Player 11 cleans them out automatically. iTunes cannot imagine that one would want to take an album out of iTunes. So you have to select each song INDIVIDUALLY and then right-click to delete (or hit the delete key on your computer). I had about six or seven albums that no longer existed in the hard drive of our PC. To remove them from our iTunes I had to delete each and every SONG.
Controls: Set up an iTunes playlist. Go ahead, I’ll wait. OK, start it up. Now stop the song that’s playing. No, you can’t cheat and hit the pause button. What, you can’t find the stop button on the controls? That’s because there isn’t one. Who ever heard of such a thing?
Burning: Here’s a real pet peeve. As burners go, iTunes is possibly the worst burning program on the market for PCs. Mine has gifted me with more beer bottle coasters than any other player/burner in the last decade. It is not only 12 times slower than Nero, Roxio, WinAmp, WMP, Sonic, etc but it is such a fragile beast that any activity on your PC other than twiddling your thumbs will make it lock up tighter than the sphincter on a spinster school teacher. Why would one use a lousy burner if it sucks like a Dyson? Well, other than downloading music to an iPod, the only way to get music off Jambo’s precious polished turd is to burn a CD. On iTunes. Other burning programs won’t recognize the format all purchased music is in. If you want the music that you legally purchased to be played in your car, home stereo, or other computer, you have to burn it to a CD on iTunes. I say it’s my music because I paid for it but Apple has different ideas. And yes, I know they made a deal with the devil (RIAA) to get this music and that’s why there are restrictions. I don’t care. If you own 90% of the marketplace for downloaded music I’d say you have a little clout with these morons. Use it. Or better yet, fix iTunes so it actually works on a PC.