Monday, February 19, 2007

iTunes Noob Mistake...

I've had a 4G iPod for a while now. I feel I've been quite proficient with it's management.

I can make playlists.

I can apply custom album art.

I can sort.

I can handle the radio and podcast features with aplomb.

I can even quickly and easily purchase music from iTunes.

...or so I thought.

Why does something Apple seems to pride itself so much on be so difficult?

Maybe it was just me.

The Adventure Begins

I have an iTunes account already established and have bought the odd-single for Alvis. Nothing near the level of investment that my brother has apparently contributed, but I'm quite conformable with the process.

Heck, it's even easy.

Oh how wrong I was...little grasshopper me.

For Valentine's Day, Lavie and Alvis gave me a $15 iTunes gift card.

I've had a hard time picking out what music to get.

I was very close to putting up a post asking (based on my genre likes) what 15'ish songs my dear blog friends would recommend; to get an fun eclectic mix. I may still do something like that soon.

I was about to spring for the new Nora Jones album Not To Late, but then inspiration hit...and my problems with iTunes began.

The Heartless Bastards...

See, I remembered one of my fav up-and-coming bands, The Heartless Bastards, had recently released a new album. There's just something about vocalist Erika Wennerstrom's rough and edgy voice that makes this band great. Might iTunes carry it?

A quick "Browse", no that doesn't help me...a quick "Power Search" and I've got the album in my sights! Just $9.99! Score!

It took me three attempts to scrape off the covering of the iTunes "pin" number...each time requiring a harder and sharper grade of metal. I was set!

I was already logged into my iTunes account, so I clicked the "Buy Album" button and it warned I was about to purchase the music.

No request if I wanted to use my iTunes card? Hmmm.

I backed out and tried again. Same thing.

What? I can use my iTunes card right? Isn't that how it is to work?

Because the iTunes purchase message looked pretty clear and firm, I decided I needed to check into whether I was using my iTunes card correctly.

I ran a Google search and came up with this handy Apple iTunes help page: iTunes Store: How to redeem an iTunes Gift Card

I scanned the steps and had done all the steps, but apparently I needed to find the QUICK LINKS window on the iTunes Store homepage...then go to the "Redeem" link. Ohhh.

So I have to redeem my iTunes gift-card first, THEN I can make a purchase decision.

Well that was mud.

Wonder why other stores don't use this awesome gift-card model? Wouldn't Amazon be such a better on-line store if they required their customers to redeem all their credits BEFORE making a purchase, instead of during the checkout process? Got a gift card for Joe's Crabshack? Gotta give it to the hostess first to redeem before being seated at the table and getting your menus.


iTunes Redeemed

Once I got it redeemed, I did notice (pleasantly) that Apple tracks your "store-credit" in a little window up at the top-left of iTunes by your login name.

Back to The Heartless Bastards album page. Quick-click purchase done and in less than five minutes I had it downloaded.

That (sincerely) is a nice touch....and a constant reminder of how much you have waiting to spend. Alvis noticed that I had a balance remaining and sweetly asked if she could have a song....Five for Fighting's "The Riddle". Sure. I like that one too.

So now I know what do do with my iTunes cards now....redeem it, then spend it.

I've got about two or three songs left of credit. I'm not quite sure what I will do with them.

I'm likely going to try one or two of the few Japanese albums the US iTunes carries.

iTunes Japan

If you really love Japanese music, you can head over to JBOX and pick up some Japanese iTunes cards, then log into the iTunes Japan website. As long as you use the Japanese iTunes cards, you can purchase and download music once logged into the iTunes Japan site.

Now I know.



Jim said...

The problem's not so much the redemption model, but the fact that the link is hard to find (I've had to go looking for it) and that it's not there when you need it. Why couldn't Apple put a button on the purchase page that says "Have an iCard to redeem?" You click it, enter the code, and when you're done it drops you right back where you were to finish your checkout. Lots of e-commerce sites do stuff like this and it works well. Apple gets a lot of things right, but not everything.

Claus said...