Sunday, February 26, 2006

Digital Music

The B-52's
I'm about as straight an arrow as you'll find -- I don't lie, cheat, steal, do drugs, drink very much, fool around, or slap babies. Well, not very often anyway.

So when I got my iPod digital music player, I immediately went to find someplace where I could buy music I wanted. You'd have thought I tore up the winning lottery ticket to hear one of my younger coworkers tell it. "You're BUYING music?!" he asked, incredulous. I felt like I'd walked into a Vegas casino and asked what time they closed.

"Well, yeah, buy music. You know, to put on my iPod."

He rolled his eyes. "Dude, I have 2500 songs. I don't think I paid for any of them."

"But that's stealing," I said, shocked.

"Oh grow up, that's why people love MP3's, you just go get music you like and download it. Record companies make plenty of money, don't worry about it."

Ah, the old "everybody's doing it" routine, I hadn't heard that since the "Brady Bunch" where they try to get Jan to do drugs (though to be frank, we'd all have been a little better off if Jan had ridden the M Train a little more often -- that chick was way too uptight).

It just didn't sit right with me. Maybe it's because of HeroMachine, but I know how much time, effort, and money goes into creating something new. It's hard. And if you don't get money to put food on the table, eventually you have to quit creating and go out and get a real job. So ultimately, music thieves are really only stealing from themselves, because eventually artists are going to stop putting out music if they can't make a living at it.

Still, I felt like a fuddy-duddy when I told him "Look, I just think it's stealing, and I'm not comfortable doing that. I like the songs I like and if I don't already have them on a CD, I don't mind shelling out $0.99 for 'Love Shack'."

"'Love Shack?!'"

"Yeah, that B52's song. Why?"

"Look, dude, it's not that you buy music. I can understand that. It's that you buy bad music."

So there you have it. According to much younger and much hipper geeks than me, it's ok to buy music as long as it's good music. Buying bad music, now that's a crime.


John said...

yeah, few things make me as cross-eyed exasperated as the "dude, the record companies make enough money" line. Spoken like a true 23 year old. There's just not enough time in the day to explain the basics of intellectual property and copyright law to dolts such as that. See, it's only cool to be in a stuggling band in the Austin music scene for so long. One day, they'll want to, I don't know, make money and buy a house, and not work at Thundercloud Subs any more. Oh, but wait. They haven't made any money off their music because everyone steals it for free. Because music is meant to be free, dude! *sigh* ...and that's why you work at Thundercloud.

Gee, this is dangerously close to a soapbox rant...I'd best step down before I say something REALLY stupid...

The Cow Whisperer said...

Looking at that photo makes me miss my "1980's hair."

Jill Phenix Avila said...

remember the day I took the pictures of you on the tractor?? You were singing “Love Shack” so loud that I could hear you while I was driving my truck with my radio on.
BTW, I think it is stealing as well and a song that you like for $0.99 is much better than a CD for $15 that only has 3 songs that you like on it.
At our last meeting in Houston we had a speaker named Andy Andrews (he has a great book called The Traveler’s Gift) who told us a story about the first time he published a book. He went to the local Borders and sat in the section where his book was on display in the “new Hardcover by a new author” to see what kind of people would show interest in his book. The first guy that picked up his book said, “$15.00 for a book this small, I’m not paying that much for this book”. Well Andy thought in his head, “it may be $15.00 to you but it is blood, sweat, tears, time away from my family, and money out of my pocket for you to sit there and complain about the price of my life”. That really put things into prospective for me when people complain about the cost of our birth control pills. It may cost you $35.00 per month but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than an abortion, the morning after pill, or raising a child for 20+ years. But that is another topic.. I guess what I am trying to say is, we take for granted the hard work that goes into bringing a product to us. Sure we pay a mark-up but if we were a business trying to make a buck we would charge the same mark-up if not more. So I say purchase your 80’s hits for $0.99 and don’t listen to no stinkin’ fools that tell you to steal from the artist, producers, writers, etc!!!

Jill Phenix Avila said...

p.s. I am too young to have 80s hair but I do remember jams and boys with perms in the mullet area... ;)

The Cow Whisperer said...

Okay, this is frightening Jill, but I had a perm my senior year. I also had TWO dates to my senior prom. Oh, man...those were the days...

Jill Phenix Avila said...

Why does that not shock me about you Russell?? ;)

Denise said...

As a writer, I know the blood, sweat and tears that go into creating something. And when people take it and then toss it aside, it's severely aggravating. I'm like Jeff -- I pay for things I download off the internet. I was having kids in the 80's! That's how old I am, so I remember "Keep on Trucking," when Lionel Ritchie was really hot and the only Ritchie we knew, besides Ritchie Cunningham and Richie Rich the Poor Rich Boy. On a whim (since I did this to my 20-something boys), you younger generation -- can you answer these without the aid of Google or Yahoo Search -- Name all four Beatles. First and last name. Bonus points if you know who the "fifth" Beatle was. What TV show would you find Miss Kitty on? What was Mick Jagger's first wife's name? (Didn't know he was married, did ya!)What commercial had the tag line, "Take it off... take it all off." What TV product used the following ad: "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is." Name a Disney movie that starred Sean Connery. No, it is not "The Magical Rock." Rockin' Sydney made what song famous in the 70s?

This is also a tip of the hat to my brother, Jeff, who remembered that I was the idiot that asked my Las Vegas uncle what time the casinos closed... You got me, copper.

the lair of the Evil DM said...

I'm proud of you Jeff. and I like to think of you as a friend, and in that spirit I want you to know that I admire your stand on paying for music. In fact I want you to make a list of all your music, adult movie, and software needs and I will be more than happy to sell them to you.