You Can't Buy What You Want

Good Lord I love the Olympics. I love to share the Olmpics with my son. I do not, however, like broadcast sports. I would leave it on mute to shut up the commentators, but then you miss the other sound.

Good Lord I hate Time Warner. We don't have cable TV at our home. There's cable internet. There's cable phone service. And when there's a show we want, we buy that show (Legend of Korra!) on the AppleTV. I am completely uninterested in any tier of cable service, and it is unlikely that I ever will be.

Oh, but the Olympics. Sure, there's the basic broadcast that they have on NBC, but Bob Costas is still alive and talking, and that just won't do. Enter this amazing thing: Live Extra. It's everything. You want to watch one tennis match without them cutting away, you can. Fencing? ALL the fencing? Yup. An individual track and field event? Boom. It is, in short, exactly what I have wanted the Olympics to be my whole life, short of actually going in person (which I don't really want to do). I would pay for this. I would pay somewhat handsomely for it.

And then, there it is at the bottom:

You will need to verify that you subscribe to a cable, satellite or telco video tier that includes CNBC and MSNBC. There is no additional charge. 

Fine. I'll get cable for a month. Oh wait, you have to get it for a year. I don't want it AT ALL. And obviously, you can't just buy the channels you want. I already have the data coming through the pipes, and I'm paying for that, I just don't have permission for those specific bits. Think about that. You can't buy what you want, you can only buy what they want you to buy, or nothing.

You can't buy what you want. You can only buy what they want you to buy, or nothing.

Case in point, my son is now a They Might Be Giants fan, which means I'm doing something right. I realized yesterday morning that they did the marvelous theme song to Malcolm in the Middle, so naturally, I went to my phone to buy that track.

ALBUM ONLY. The Malcolm in the Middle soundtrack is a dozen tracks of crap that no one wants to hear ever, and the sublime "Boss Of Me" by TMBG. Which means that this one song costs $10. All of the comments on iTunes were variations on "iTunes, you suck! Come on iTunes, we just want this one song!" Really? do people really think that Apple wants to do it this way? The original iTunes store stipulated that all songs had to be available as tracks for $.99, but they capitulated to the RIAA to allow for variable pricing of tracks and extensive album-only offerings. Why? Because the model of the desperate is this: you can't buy what you want. You can buy what they want you to buy, or nothing.

Desperation won't last.