Kooper Responds

"We treat our customers with great care."

If your letter is an example of that, you have a great deal to learn about great care.

Telling me that I’m a grumpy old man and that I don’t know any better is not great care, sir/madam/whatever…  My motivation in writing that note was my passion for music, not grumpiness. I have been an Apple Computer user since 1986 when I began scoring films with the computer.

If you bothered to check my account before you chastised me for my "grumpiness" you would have seen that I have downloaded approximately three thousand, three hundred, and thirty six tunes from iTunes (3,336) since its inception a few years ago. I thought it was a fair answer to Napster, and I remember buying 45 RPM singles in the 1950’s for $.99 each. I LOVED iTunes when it first started. For me and other customers outside your ring of anonymity, things began to change. At MacWorld Conventions, I labored to find a rep from iTunes to chat with to find out if these things could be noted and possibly corrected. The closest I got was a referral to the head of iTunes UK which would have been pretty useless.

You claim the majority of the new releases are up for purchase by 3AM the latest on Tuesday morning. Not in anyone’s home that I know of that DOESN’T work for Apple. If you believe that your reply is true, you are laboring under an Apple misconception OR you are a bald-faced liar. Here’s part of a note I got from a reader of Lefsetz re: your reply – he wishes to remain anonymous probably so his iTunes account doesn’t get messed with:

"There is one glowing falsehood or outright lie below… They state

‘We turn the store at midnight eastern every Monday night.’

and go on to say

‘…so the content is all in place for Al who must have his new releases Tuesday at 8 AM.’

This is simply not true. When I get home from work on a Tuesday at about 6 PM CST, the list of new releases on the new release page, if there at all for that day, just has a few of the key new releases mixed in with the previous Tuesday’s list. It’s usually not until sometime on Wednesday or Thursday when that full correct list is there. On Tuesday during the day, that list is almost never there, and if it is, initially it only includes the new releases that are featured on the front page, which is very few…"

Well, looky here – somebody else, another "grump" who backs up what I was saying in sharp contrast to your misconception as an Apple rep/schlep/whatever.

You & Steve have a lot to learn about "customer care". Now, we are all aware that people have downloaded over a billion and a half songs and that you can’t make iPods fast enough to meet the demand. So, if you just ignore all the dissatisfied people by not caring about consumer communication, you’re still gonna do record-breaking business. That is, until someone comes along and corrects all the things you are doing WRONG

a) Mechanically irreparable iPods. You bragged about the life still in a second generation iPod. I notice you didn’t brag about the first generation, and those four-button third generation flukes you got off the market in record time ’cause it was a miracle if one lasted 6 months!  And BTW, another portable device nowadays is the cell phone, they play music, show videos, take pictures and you can call at least anywhere in the US on them. It costs $30-$35 for a new battery and any punter can change it easily themselves. The cheapest I have seen for an iPod battery is $66, but the unit must be shipped elsewhere to be installed. I believe the Genius Bar at the walk-in Apple Stores has charged $100 to do it right there. Shame on you.

b) No info for the consumer on each download. Now don’t pass the buck to the record company. Tell them that all the customers who still buy CDs do it to get the booklets and the knowledge therein and the increase in sales from including that info would justify it and put certain competition to bed.

c) Just allowing only purchases from iTunes to be uploaded from iPods in your new system. What about all the stuff we put on the iPods from our CD collections? It’s a good thing we didn’t have to wait for you to half-assedly correct this  – there’s great shareware out there so we can bounce what’s in our iPods WHEREVER IT CAME FROM to our computers ("iPod Access", for one – highly recommended by grumps everywhere BTW.)

Let me just leave it at that and say if you can’t respond by a name or email address, don’t bother with any more of your company chicanery. We support you and you treat us like shit – especially YOU!

Now I will stay far away from saying to you, who did not check; all the things I have done in my 50 years of being in the music business and just say that your letter was in the top 3 of disrespectful slurs that I have endured. Thanks to all the Lefsetz Lovers for your emails of encouragement. They really helped get the bad taste of sir/madam/whatever out of my soul.

Gotta go. The Wall Street Journal wants to interview ME about what I think about all this Apple stuff – Me? A grumpy old man who should know better ? Funniest thing – You haven’t heard the last of me but hopefully I have heard the last of you.

With all DUE respect,

Al Kooper
a person not ashamed to sign his name
and happily represent all the people you DON’T reply to

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.