Ah, now this is a very nice new feature in iTunes 7.
There’s more information here.
I’ve noticed a bit more of a trend in this direction recently: for applications to incorporate backup options for their own data. I think it’s quite a good idea, because they often have a better idea of what needs backing up, how often, and in what way, than a more general “copy the files” backup. A couple of other packages I use which have two very different, but both very good, backup strategies built-in are the excellent accounting package MYOB and Apple’s Aperture.
So my photos, my accounts and my music now all have their own backups in addition to the general disk-cloning that I do from time to time with SuperDuper. Good for one’s peace of mind. I shall now go to bed and sleep soundly.
It’s a good feature, but I do question why Apple’s doesn’t support multiple downloads of purchased songs. Given that backing up computer data is not something many people at all do, and do well, the most obvious, painfree solution would be for Apple to allow you to just download your purchased music again, since they can easily keep track of your purchases. It’s also the technically obvious solution, since there’s really no reason to be making individual backups of bit-identical copies of the same files that are already backed up on Apple’s servers in the first place. The problem is, of course, property rights management.
While I’m on that soapbox, I would add that paying $1 for a song, I would really expect to have bought the “listening rights” to it, regardless of compression format, for example, so that when MP50 is released, I’d expect to be able to get a new version of the file in the new, superior format.
I think that whoever is able to convince content providers to sell “usage rights” rather than media or physical items or single-download rights, will provide a great value to consumers, and will make a bundle of money.
Another interesting feature on the new iTunes is that if two machines are authorised to your iTunes account, then moving an iPod between them will also copy your iTunes-purchased music. They’re making it easier for you to use your purchased music on the machines on which you’re entitled to use it.
Music that you’ve ripped from CDs yourself doesn’t have this feature, presumably because without the 5-machine limit imposed by iTunes authorization, music would just replicate across the planet much too quickly!