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Disappearing songs and other iTunes 7 woes

Disappearing songs and other iTunes 7 woes

iTunes 7 is so not ready for prime time. In fact, it's hard to believe Apple has released such a buggy program. On my Windows machine at work, I have been battling iTunes 7 nearly every time I use it. From its just refusing to start up after several tries to requiring me to select new libraries every third time I open it, this little jukebox and I have not been getting along. Most of my problems have been related to sluggish performance--that is, iTunes freezing up and acting slow in general. I noticed that while this is happening, my CPU usage shoots up as much as 80 percent. And that's not even playing music or video--that's just navigating around. This just shouldn't be happening on a 2.6GHz Pentium 4 with a gig of RAM.

OK, so that's annoying. But more disturbing is a recent phenomenon I've been noticing, which I shall call "the disappearing of purchased content" (DOPC?) issue. This has happened to me on not one, but two different PCs, running in different locations (home and work). Over the weekend, I purchased four songs on iTunes and used them to burn a mix with some music I already owned. When I opened iTunes the next day, the songs were nowhere to be found. And when I selected the Check For Purchases option in the Store drop-down menu, I got this message: "All purchases have been downloaded for this account. Purchases can only be downloaded once." Well, that sucks, because I just spent my hard-earned cash (albeit--and thankfully--only four bucks) on some music, and it disappeared from iTunes for no logical reason. Yesterday, I bought a TV show and a movie on iTunes so that I could test out a new iPod accessory. Today, the files were missing from the iTunes library. Seriously...WTF? This is just getting ridiculous. I spent $17 for the privilege of easy and fast access to those files.

After a little searching, I was able to turn up my movie and TV show. It turns out that these two items--which are the only ones I've purchased since upgrading to iTunes 7--were saved in an odd location. While all of my previous purchases were logically saved to my general iTunes Music folder, under My Music > iTunes, the most recent ones were saved in an iTunes Music folder that the program created here: My Music > iTunes > Previous iTunes Libraries. Um, OK--why? I certainly didn't specify such a thing in my preferences. At least I found my files, but the whole beauty of iTunes is that it makes media management such an easy task, and version 7 is not doing its job.

Senior editor James Kim was a witness to my pain; he hasn't experienced such woes himself (luck?), but he is also baffled that a fix to iTunes 7 isn't priority numero uno over at Apple. After all, millions of people use the software and store. Are the rest of you as irritated as I am?