To the "I buy nothing" AC..
Yep, with you there.. I will (and indeed prefer) to pay a fair price for decent-quality media as long as it's not DRM-encrusted. I suspect that getting hold of a few mp3s works as a word of mouth sales tool for a lot of people, I know I have discovered interesting stuff from being pointed at an mp3- if I like it, it's probably enough to make me buy it, if I don't, I generally don't like it enough to keep it..
That said (beware, whinge incoming), I recently decided to be all numeejafuturetechnology/digital wotnots, and had a horrible experience. I wanted a particular game for the PC, went to the official site and snagged. a demo. All good, fantastic fun- so I decided that I wanted the whole thing. Remembering that the official site made much of the fact that I could buy it at direct2drive.co.uk, I decided to go for some near-immediate gratification. I bought a copy there, at nearly twice the price of the physical media, on the basis that I could probably have it downloaded by the next morning- much quicker than waiting for a delivery via Royal Phail (tm).
All I can say is ouch. Direct2drive don't "allow" refunds after more than 48 hours. The title was a 6 gig download. The fastest their site was managing was 100k/sec. The "support" site was insistent that people should get at least twice that. Checked out my connection in case of contention- 500+k/sec from various US, UK and euro sites. Tried d2d again, 69k/sec was the fastest this time. Urgh. downloads terminated early, stalled, you name it. Total crapola. The ticket that I submitted to "support" was answered with a single line which could have come from a badly-adjust Markov chain parser, four days later.
I could have ordered it from play.com, had it in two days for half the price. I could have grabbed a torrent and had it in a few hours for free. If this is the future, then I am adapting all my hardware to run on coal. Digital fulfilment must not be shoddy, to gain consumer trust- especially in these years after the deCSS/Sony Rootkit/DRM/random litigation and other loathesome media pimping company adventures. People are increasingly tiring of vat-grown product and soaring prices. Restrictions on fair use (remember the recent speculative attempts to brand ripping CDs onto your iPods as criminal, folks?) and insulting consumers with the taint of criminality might just be the final nail in the coffin for some folks. Treat me like crap, brand me a criminal and accuse me of stealing your stuff, and I just might do that.
Oh, gotta go, Soulless Hollywood Remake II opens tonight, and I have tickets!