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Unlimited Music Re-Downloads May Be Coming To iTunes

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If things go as planned, iTunes music buyers may soon be able to re-download their music purchases to all of their iDevices.

According to unnamed music industry sources speaking to Bloomberg, Apple is currently in discussions with the major music labels (Sony Music, Universal Music Group (UMG), Warner Music Group (WMG), and EMI) to allow iTunes customers to re-download purchased music for no extra charge.

As many iTunes users are aware, apps can be re-downloaded without having to repay for the download. Music however doesn’t get the same luxury. Instead, music purchases can only be downloaded once and users are charged for re-downloads of the same music they have already bought.

Having the flexibility to re-download music purchases would be great if you find yourself without backups.

The reason this music download limitation currently exists is due to licensing restrictions on music sold through iTunes. Right now, the music labels charge Apple for each music download, even if the user has already paid for the content. Apple simply passes the costs to the user.

People familiar with the issue say that an agreement between Apple and the music labels could be announced near the middle of 2011. This date could coincide with the rumored MobileMe revamp, which could see users storing their content online and enabling multiple streaming devices to access that content.

One potential issue with online streaming however is our data plans, which at least in Canada are expensive and normally provide less data amounts than competing wireless carriers from other countries.


[Bloomberg]

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  • Anonymous

    I’m all for being able to re-download my music purchases from iTunes. It’s nice that Apple might finally be letting customers do that. However, I’ve always maintained that not being able to re-download your music purchases is the same as your local HMV store not giving you another copy of a cd because yours got stolen at a party. You wouldn’t even ask HMV to do that so why are we expecting Apple to eat the cost for a user’s inability to keep their files backed up? What I’d really like to see happen is have Apple remove the five computer limit on your iTunes account. If the songs you buy don’t have copy protection on them anymore why does it matter how many computers my iTunes account is associated with? Time for that limitation to go away.
    As for the on-line storage of your iTunes library? I’m not sure that’s going to work out for people like me with over 120 GB of music in my library. And yes, it’s backed up….. to three different drives.

  • Anonymous

    I’m all for being able to re-download my music purchases from iTunes. It’s nice that Apple might finally be letting customers do that. However, I’ve always maintained that not being able to re-download your music purchases is the same as your local HMV store not giving you another copy of a cd because yours got stolen at a party. You wouldn’t even ask HMV to do that so why are we expecting Apple to eat the cost for a user’s inability to keep their files backed up? What I’d really like to see happen is have Apple remove the five computer limit on your iTunes account. If the songs you buy don’t have copy protection on them anymore why does it matter how many computers my iTunes account is associated with? Time for that limitation to go away.
    As for the on-line storage of your iTunes library? I’m not sure that’s going to work out for people like me with over 120 GB of music in my library. And yes, it’s backed up….. to three different drives.

  • Kevinmatthewroach

    If you can get the 6 gig data for 30$, Data in Canada is one of the best in the world. In the US AT&T and now even Verison are canceling their unlimited data option and sticking with 2 gigs for 30. Even before it was 5 gigs for 30$.

    It’s our voice plans that kill us

  • Chris

    Sorry, but your analogy is wrong. Downloading a song from their server costs very very little and they don’t lose anything of physical value (i.e metal and plastic for a new CD). The only reason why they don’t do it now, is that they can make more money from people re-buying their music. I think the question is when you buy music online, are you paying for the file, or the ability to play that song. In my opinion it should be the latter. If the MP3 format becomes legacy, would you want to pay for all your songs again in a new format? This would be like going from casset to CD. However, physically and in terms of cost, it’s very different. That being said, I understand your point and would be fine if they had a small charge just to cover server fees like 1cent/song or less.

  • Chris

    One more thing, is Apple is already very good with this. They allow people to re-download their entire library (once) if there is appropriate circumstances. They have excellent customer care, and I think its the record companies that have to come on board to allow this to happen.

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