Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Music Downloads

If you listen to Mix or Hitz (for the record Hitz.fm annoyz the pizz outz of me a bit more), and should those stations ever be named by truth, they should be named LoudMouthsLowBrowHumourAdHungryBatstards.fm, you would may have heard this anti-piracy warning that they play quite often. It goes something along the lines of if people kept downloading music then there will be no more music in the world because nobody would pay the artist. They get some girl to say this but you doubt her sincerity because you think she's probably downloading as well and got paid well to say this crap. To emphasize their point they play the sound of a quiet night intruded only by the sound of crickets chirping occasionally. 'There would be no more music in the world,' she says sadly, or something like that.

Whilst I get their message - downloading is a form of piracy and it is illegal - I thought their presentation sucked. Really. Just because everybody is downloading doesn't mean that there will be no more music simply because artist will refuse to compose or play their music if they are not paid. The first thought that occured to me when I heard that was - who said the only kind of music is the corporate commercial rock that these companies sponsor? Just because it wasn't burned on a CD doesn't mean it is not legitimate, valid and wholesome music. Just because a record company didn't issue an album on it doesn't mean that it is not 'music'.

Music can be found in the most complex of symphonies right down to just our fingers and the table drumming away. And humanity needs music as much as music needs humanity to arise and inspire. And let's get one thing right - downloading just means that record companies don't get to pay their stable of artists. It doesn't necessarily mean that artists don't get paid. The cunning part about the 'infomercial' is how the record companies are not mentioned at all. They focus on the issue of payment of the artist instead of talking about their cut, as if the entire revenue went to the artists.

Downloading is now a fact of internet life as is digitized music as is the fact that digitized music is easily downloadable and alot of people like doing it. Instead of harping about the evils of downloading music which is really a lost cause in an environment where enforcement is like some mystical gryphon that only awakes when something is being done in the full glare of the media, these record companies should have gone the iTunes way and come up with a sustainable model that is sensitive to the consumer ($0.99 per song). What the record companies have failed to understand with this campaign is that digital rights protection mechanisms or whatever it is they install will be ultimately futile because at some point somebody is going to crack the code. That is the nature of internet security - always evolving and changing. And all that money spent on it will have been a waste and consumers have to pay for it. They have to understand that the time for selling music the way they did before the era of the internet is now long gone (by internet time). They have to work with the downloading revenue and make the best of it, otherwise they would be out of business, not the musician because it is the latter that can produce the music not the former.

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