7digital does the right thing.

Though yesterday’s post on data disasters didn’t have a happy ending this one definitely does. It’s reassuring to know that with all those illegal downloads just a few clicks away, forward-thinking online music store 7digital.com has got its priorities dead right in terms of customer service.

After watching a rerun of Saturday Night Live over the weekend and seeing this jaw-dropping performance by hip-hop legend Jay-Z I immediately set out to find myself a copy of his single Empire State Of Mind online.

As I had hoped, exactly what I was looking for was available DRM-free from the Canadian portal to 7digital.com — which, by the way, also powers the online stores owned & operated by HMV and Ubuntu One.

I handed over my $1.49 CAD (didn’t it used to be 99¢?) and was good to go… Or so I thought. I didn’t realize that I had in fact downloaded the “amended album version”, an obfuscated way of saying that my track was censored. And anyone who’s a fan of hip-hop will know that taking the f-bombs and such out of this lyrically-driven music genre of renders it pretty much useless.

I looked around the help section of the site for any signs of a return policy or grace period but found none. In desperation I sent them an email, offering to destroy the copy of the track I didn’t want, and leaving the 500 lb. gorilla in the room — that is, the very convenient and very available p2p versions of the same track — out of the discussion altogether.

I didn’t hear back immediately, and assumed the worst — until just yesterday, when I received this message:

We have credited Empire State Of Mind [Jay-Z + Alicia Keys] (Explicit Album Version) to your locker page. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

When you think about it there is really no other correct answer. As an organization offering music for purchase and competing with untold millions of users sharing the same ripped tracks for free about all you can do is offer superior customer service. Kudos to 7digital for seeing that.

And their music locker is pretty handy too…