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I paid for music

As a general rule, I don't pay for music. The main reason of course is that the music industry are a bunch of thugs. If you don't know that already, you've been living under a rock for the past few decades. I won't even buy music for other people as a gift if I can help it.

Recently however I did buy music, specifically Jonathan Coulton's latest DVD. JoCo releases his music under Creative Commons, which is awesome, and when you buy it (from What Are Records) you get MP3s that are not infested with DRM, which is also awesome. When you buy that particular DVD, you get a DVD of the concert, a music CD of the same concert, AND you can immediately download MP3s of said concert while you wait for the DVD in the mail. All for $20. Well worth it for such quality music.

I first heard most of JoCo's music via shaky concert recordings on Youtube and via MP3s acquired "elsewhere" (nearly all of which are free downloads on Joco's website though); otherwise I'd never even have known he existed. And yet I ended up giving him my money, happily and willingly, and probably will again. Amazing how things turn out.

The other music I bought recently is Stephen Lynch. Again I heard most of his music first on Youtube. Again I gleefully spent money on his latest CD because it's good music and because it's DRM-less and thug-less entertainment and a good portion of that money is going to the artists.

Most of the music I like comes from Japan or various corners of Europe. Amazon sells a few (very few) Japanese music CDs, for between $50 and $90 each (plus shipping). Do you know how much it costs to ship a stream of bytes from Japan to the US via the intertubes? Hint, it's not $90. How does a stream of bytes increase $90 in value when it's written onto a piece of plastic?

These are strange times. There's such disparity between what the average person believes is right and wrong on the internet and what the law says is lawful and unlawful. This kind of disparity can't last forever. My high school history teacher said that in America at least, a law that is opposed by the majority of citizens in the country never lasts long; I think that's true. And it's as it should be. In a few decades, we're going to look back at how things were in the 90's and 00's and laugh.

May 24, 2009 @ 1:06 PM PDT
Cateogory: Rants
Tags: Music

5 Comments

Dan Fego
Quoth Dan Fego on May 24, 2009 @ 1:48 PM PDT

I've been toying with buying the JoCo DVD myself lately as well, and I in fact had the pleasure seeing him live just this past week. I'd highly recommend seeing one of his shows if you ever get a chance. He's fantastic live!

Matija "hook" ?uklje
Quoth Matija "hook" ?uklje on May 24, 2009 @ 3:14 PM PDT

The same is true for Europe as well ...actually the idea that law should and will have to be based on the current social state is a part of legal theory in pretty much all of the so called "western" society. At the very least in the form that if a law is so conflicting with the real life of the majority that it's unbareable, it becomes "unlaw" and has to be removed or replaced.

? propos intellectual property rights, a few days ago I started wondering which features a work has because of purely intellectual work and which because it's materialised in an object that we can physically own and manipulate with. We've grown so used to the idea book == novel that it's hard to grasp that actually novel != book; novel == content, book == container. It will be tough times on teh interwebs until we can abstract what the IP rights on the content really are and separate that in our heads (and those of legislatures) from the material rights on the container. When the exams are over I'll try to concentrate a bit on this and write an article or two about it ;)

P.S. Intellectual "property" is a completely false term for what it tries to describe and was initially used because of a lack of a better word. Lately mostly entertainment industry tries to extend its reach by refering to it's "property-ness".

Brian
Quoth Brian on May 24, 2009 @ 4:52 PM PDT

@Dan I definitely would love to see him in person. The DVD is good, good production quality and plenty of witty banter. A couple of the songs from the CD rival the studio versions.

@Matija Yes, I cringe every time I hear the term "intellectual property".

Stu
Quoth Stu on May 26, 2009 @ 8:02 AM PDT

Did he do Mr. Fancy Pants with that sampler machine on the DVD version? Man, that was classy. I was a little disappointed that his studio version didn't get all crazy like that :)

I've been wanting to get some MP3 albums off of Amazon, because it's cheap, DRM-free and I like Amazon a helluva lot better than iTunes. Still haven't done it yet, but I'll probably splurge when money comes in from the new job.

Brian
Quoth Brian on May 26, 2009 @ 9:58 AM PDT

@Stu Yeah he has the Zendrum on the DVD. I want one.