A Small Rant on Online Music Stores

I’m liking the soundtrack for Final Fantasy 14. At first it felt off, too classical. Nothing wrong with that, but some parts seem out of place in an online game. For example, while Mozart and Beethoven were geniuses and wrote masterpieces, I’m not sure any of their symphonies would make a good soundtrack to a game.

However, I did really enjoy the music in the 3 city-states of ARR: Gridania, Limsa Lominsa, and Uldah… all have nice ambient music. And the Chocobo riding music. And, eventually it all grew on me, from cut-scene music to fight music and so on. OK so violin melodies still seem a little out of place, but it isn’t as jarring now.

So I looked into buying the soundtrack. I checked iTunes and Google Play. Four albums are in each store, but the Google Play version is consistently 33% cheaper. $30 vs $20 as rough estimates. That is a fairly significant difference, especially since I’d like to buy all four. So I started with a purchase from Google Play.

I went to download the album, and instantly hit the first problem:

That says “a maximum of 100 songs can be downloaded at once. Please select fewer songs and try again.”

Yes, granted most albums don’t have 100 songs, but ARR and Stormblood do (ARR is 119, Heavensward is 58, Stormblood is 105, and Shadowbringers is 88). What really sucks is I can’t figure out a way to multi-select on Google Play. It tells me to select fewer but I don’t have that option – I can pick one, or all. Thus I can either download the entire album at once (except if there are 100 songs in which case it errors), or download each song individually.

One at a time. For about 119 songs. #$%&*!@(*

Becoming a bit angry, I downloaded the first song. I got another popup:

That says “Are you sure? [Why not try Google Play Music for Chrome instead?]”

So I tried that, but got an error that won’t resolve:

And the promised update never seems to take.

So… it seems my only option for downloading this music is to get each song individually. That takes four clicks per song:

  • 1 to click on the 3 dots to show the context menu
  • 1 to click on the 3 dots to show the context menu
  • 1 to click on the 3 dots to show the context menu
  • 1 to click on the 3 dots to show the context menu

To recap: I can’t download the entire album at once, because that is too many songs. I can’t find a way to multi-select several songs so I have to get them one at a time, which takes 4 clicks per song.

And: Each song I downloaded shows 2 popups: one to tell me I can only download a song twice but Google Play Music for Chrome lets me around that.

But: Google Play Music for Chrome is busted and never works for me. It just cycles that dialog box.

So: I have to download each song, one by one, each time dismissing the annoying popup, and then the 2nd confirmation.

I’m not a UI designer, but in my unprofessional opinion, this is abject failure of storefront design.

I’ve bought large albums on iTunes (100 greatest classical music, collections like that) and downloading was ONE simple click. Not some crap arbitrary limit forced by lazy software developers.

I’m considering spending the extra money to buy the other albums on iTunes, which has a non-user-hostile way to download an album with a single click. Even though the Heavensward and Shadowbringers soundtracks should download with a single click, I’d rather pay Apple than reward Google for their stupid miserable user experience getting purchased content.

2 thoughts on “A Small Rant on Online Music Stores”

  1. You already bought the songs.

    Why would you buy them again? Just download them elsewhere for free.

    You’ve literally already bought them, so there’s not even a moral problem anymore.

    1. This… is a great idea. I didn’t even consider that. Buy the songs but grab them in a painless fashion from somewhere else. It took me a long time and lots of clicks to download the ARR soundtrack… I dread using Google Play to buy Stormblood but not with your suggestion. Thanks!

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