Itunes has never offered redownloads in the past. It has always been your responsibility to backup your purchases ( this is very basic). just recently Itunes has introduced a beta version of icloud in the U.S. only that allow redownload of music. You should still ALWAYS maintain a backup copy of EVERYTHING that you do not want to lose.
This seems to be very misleading. When I looked for assistance regarding my downloads and iCloud (see the two links I posted) I found nothing saying it was exclusive to the US.
When I found this, I still struggled to find any evidence that it was US only, until down the very bottom of the page;
"Some music features of iCloud are available in beta now in the U.S. only and require iOS 4.3.3 on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM model), iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation), iPad, or iPad 2, or a Mac or PC with iTunes 10.3 or later"
I feel extremely mislead. Especially given in my initial correspondance with iTunes support, nothing of this nature was mentioned.
Indeed, in my second response form iTunes support, I was still not provided with any information regarding why my store page and profile differed from that of the apple website.
Had I been given this information immediately, I would have been able to make different decisions based upon that knowledge, and saved myself a great amount of time and hassle.
Now I find myself asking why I would bother buying music on iTunes at all? As a student, I have an extremely tight budget and bought songs only when I could REALLY spare the cash, if I found the artist exceptionally good. I'm wondering why I would even buy music on iTunes, if it doesn't provide basic the download managing software that it implies, and even outright says that it does (with an exception that I struggled to find).
While I do understand that this mainly my fault for not digging through dozens and dozens of web pages (well, I did, but not the right ones apparently) I feel extremely disatisfied with how I have been decieved and wasted money I otherwise wouldn't have spent.
From this point on I'll only be buying music CD's and DVD's, or buying from online retailers that DO offer proper download management and redownloading.
Thank you for your quick response, roaminggnome. At least from this point I can make much more informed decisions. I guess my next question is if it is possible to refund my purchases from iTunes, so I can purchase some form of media that won't become corrupted when my computer decides to throw another fit : \
Just an additional side-thought. Isn't the act of backing up (copying) music against the law in some areas? Doesn't it fall under piracy laws in some countries? I'm probably wrong there, but for some reason that rings a bell for me, given it's the reproduction of digital media.