Did you know: If you purchase a song from iTunes, download it to your computer and neglect to transfer it to a compatible device before your hard drive dies in a spectacular symphony of clicking and grinding sounds, that song is gone forever.
Per Apple’s terms and conditions for the iTunes store:
“Products may be downloaded only once and cannot be replaced if lost for any reason. Once a Product is downloaded, it is your responsibility not to lose, destroy, or damage it, and Apple shall not be liable to you if you do so.”
I have personally heard legends of iTunes users calling Apple’s customer care line and pleading to be able to re-download lost content, but those users have since mysteriously vanished—never to be heard from again.
Apple is apparently looking to change the one-time download limit for iTunes music, according to Bloomberg. The sources of the information are anonymous but the news allegedly comes from not one, not two, but “three people with knowledge of the plans.”
If things work out, the next time you buy a music track from iTunes you’ll be able to re-download it at a later date if you need to. Makes perfect sense, huh? Why hasn’t this been a feature since day one?
Believe it or not, the record labels have impeded such technological progress—the record labels! Champions of the people!
According to Bloomberg:
“Apple is negotiating with music companies including Vivendi SA (VIV)’s Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) and EMI Group Ltd., said the people, who asked for anonymity because the talks are private. An agreement may be announced by midyear, two of the people said.”
The aforementioned labels offer DRM-free tracks for purchase through iTunes—download a track once, copy it to as many devices as you like—so it’s not as though it’d be a huge stretch to basically add a hard drive on an Apple server as one of the devices that’d house your purchased tracks.
It could also potentially—and hear me out, here—compel people to purchase more (or all) of their music directly from iTunes. If Apple extends this re-downloading feature to iTunes-purchased tracks but doesn’t let you upload tracks you’ve purchased elsewhere to its servers, people may ultimately decide that it’s just easier to buy music solely from iTunes.
It’s not the consumer friendly iTunes-in-the-Cloud service that’s been rumored for quite some time now—that one would theoretically allow you to upload and access your entire music collection online—but Apple has a propensity to go for simplicity over features. That, and the more music purchases that originate from iTunes, the better for Apple.
More on TIME.com:
Apple Looking To Sell Digital Tracks With Better Sound Quality
Google’s Rumored Music Service Confirmed by Motorola?
Competition for iTunes? Google Music, Spotify Making Launch Strides