Apple and iTunes save a bad post

A few weeks ago I preordered the latest R.E.M. release Accelerate (iTunes) after hearing all the great reviews. Preordering got me a bonus track and the single early and I would have hoped the album as soon as it was out. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case – the album was available right after midnight yesterday, but as of 3 P.M. I hadn’t received notice that I could download my album, so I sent an email to Apple. A few hours later I had an email saying I could download my album.

In my email to Apple I mentioned that this wasn’t the first time this had happened and it makes no sense. It seems to me that you’d want to get the album out to those he preordered it at least when it is commercially available, if not before then. These are your biggest fans. The ones that would beat the drum for the album.

Then today I got an email from Apple that turned my opinion.

Thank you for preordering “R.E.M Accelerate”. It appears that since you last contacted iTunes Store Customer Support, you have successfully purchased and downloaded this selection. I do apologize for any frustration this issue may have caused.

I have issued you 5 free song credits for your inconvenience. When you sign in to the iTunes Store with this account, the song credit will appear by your account name in the upper-right corner of the iTunes window.

I still think that Apple should work to make sure that their best fans are better taken care of, but this was good customer service. The took a bad situation and turned it good – at least for me. I was planning to write about how they screwed up, and they at least turned it into a compliment on how they take care of their customers. Yeah, yeah 5 free songs makes me feel better – customers can be made happy with free stuff – more companies should remember that.

R.E.M. - Accelerate

  • http://www.thewebpen.net/blog Howard

    After my third pre-order did that, I’ve never done it again. The other thing that made me angry (and I know I’m being anal) is that the single that would download immediately would not have the same tags as the album and would show up out of order in my library.

    Drove me crazy!

    Otherwise, I’m not sure I’m sold on Accelerate, but I am getting more into the new Raconteurs.

  • Spencer

    I always get sucked in by the early single or access to songs that won’t be available when the title is released to the public. A few months back I bought the foo fighters cd the same way because they were providing a ticket pre-sale code for ticketmaster. Well in Philly they didn’t use ticketmaster, so I didn’t get a code. I should have complained then.

  • http://fortyninepercenter.blogspot.com/ joey

    I hate when stuff appears out of order in the library, too.
    You aren’t alone on that one.

    I usually wind up deleting the single so I dont have duplicate files. You get enough of them and your hard-drive starts to fill up with duplicates of hundreds of files.

  • Spencer

    Songs in the library are ordered based on a number assigned when the song was added. iTunes changed how the download manager works so that multiple songs are downloaded concurrently, so if song 3 is downloaded to the library faster than song 1, then song 3 comes first. This applies not just to iTunes, but if you use Amazon or eMusic, the song order is based on when it was added to the library (you’ll notice if you sort by date added, it’s out of order also).

    Solution: sort your library and lists by Album – then it’s always is the proper order.

  • http://www.thewebpen.net/blog Howard

    Not necessarily true, Spence. The song number is embedded into the tags so if you sort by album or artist, the songs appear in order. Unfortunately, iTunes also bases it on the copyright information it puts into the AAC file. The two singles I tried to force into their correct order did not have the same unchangeable information as the album. I changed all the tags I could to the exact same information as the rest of the album (except song number) and it would not put it in the proper sequence. iTunes saw it as a song from a completely different album.

    Trust me, I worked on both for a good 20 minutes and finally just bought a new copy of the same song so all the information would be the same.

    And I’ve never had the problem of a song later in the album being downloaded before songs prior in album order. I sort everything by artist but did try to sort by album, but the same thing would happen. The single would be outside of the album order because — as far as I could figure — the copyright information wasn’t the same.

    Anyway, that’s why I don’t do pre-orders anymore unless, of course, the pre-order has extra stuff that I just can’t live without.

  • Spencer

    I see what you’re saying – iTunes definitely puts things in the library based on when they were downloaded, but that’s not the problem you’re talking of – I’ve experienced the issue you’re referring where you get a “single” as part of the pre-order and when you get the full album, the single plays out of order. I think I was able to fix it, but I can’t remember how. Or maybe I wasn’t able to fix it and am just smoking crack.