So… “CNET | Poll: Should music be free?”


Not that it’s never been brought up before… but, the debate rages on.  I find it interesting that it’s a CNET poll, and that there are people quite passionate on both sides of the issue.  Check out this poll:

Poll: Should music be free? | Paying for music is now a voluntary act, so why would anyone ever buy a CD, LP, or download?

English: The crossed out copyright symbol with...

English: The crossed out copyright symbol with a musical note on the right hand side is the free music symbol, signifying a lack of copyright restrictions on music. It may be used in the abstract, or applied to a sound recording or musical composition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not exactly sure where I fall.  Obviously, as a musician… I see value in the songs & the entertainment.  It’s great when I have a product to sell.  It’s awesome that people would want to pay to purchase noise that I make.  To me it’s more of a lifestyle/hobby though.  I don’t mind playing just to make gas money, or selling music barely above cost… or even posting it for free.  I dig that people enjoy it.  But, and this is a big but…  If it was my sole means of income, I sure would not be happy giving much away for free.  Although, radio and now online streaming are the way to get heard, and… that’s free.  You almost need that to advertise yourself, unless you gig non-stop like Metallica in their early days.

Are people like me who don’t mind giving away music devaluing music for everyone?  I certainly like free stuff.  I also buy CD’s & merchandise from local & smaller touring acts like a madman.  I realize I’m not normal in that practice.  I see the value in others’ art.  It’s important to me to reward their efforts.

The again, I’m a huge fan of freeware, shareware, and open source stuff when it comes to software.  What’s the difference?

What’s the new model?  Albums are free, shows and T-shirts make you money?  Every band releases a documentary & a bunch of live DVD’s?  Government sticks its’ nose into streaming and it becomes an ad-heavy payola nightmare?

I’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts in the comments.

Digital Media vs.Physical Media.


The other day I posted a Facebook status, and wanted to expand upon it here.  This is what I said:

I get that digital & cloud media are the next step. I get that ALMOST everything is available for streaming as part of a service. Anyone else weirded out by it? Some stuff… obscure or whatever just isn’t available for streaming. What happens when the companies close or the cloud’s redundant services fail? What happens if someone buys the rights to streaming movies, just to keep them from the public? What if censorship goes out of control and some committee decided certain movies are no longer available? Will they all be lost forever because no one will have physical copies? Don’t say it can’t happen… it has in the past with books.

It sparked a discussion.  Not too long after I posted that, Amazon posted this:

Announcing AutoRip from Amazon MP3: Buy an AutoRip CD and instantly get the MP3 version for FREE. Learn more: http://amzn.to/VMhFaJ

I of course shared it, and it sparked a tiny bit more discussion.

English: Photograph of Roku XDS player with re...

Photograph of Roku XDS player with remote. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like the idea of digital music & cloud storage.  I just purchased a 3TB drive, and in addition to other uses, hope to eventually rip all of my CD’s & put them on there so I can set it up to listen to all of my stuff from any browser anywhere.  Well, after I make a few decisions.

I like the idea of Digital movies & TV shows…  I love having Netflix‘s library available in an instant.  I love being able to watch a movie from Netflix or rent a digital movie from Amazon through the Blu-ray player.

I like the idea of Pandora or Google Play where there’s streaming music there in an instant.  Pandora just disappoints because of the variety of music I listen to… a lot of smaller bands that I really dig just have a minimal or even no presence there.  Google Play at least lets you upload your own mp3’s in addition to purchasing new ones.  Amazon holds your stuff in the cloud too.  I just wish all the music that I wanted was all in one place.

I have had an older external hard drive crash.  It’s not good.  I still need to get it fixed without breaking the bank.  Anything physical can be destroyed…  CD’s & Records can melt or scratch, and not too many people have 8-Trak or even cassette players any more.

My original question is as much about content control & ownership as much as anything else.  Say you purchase a ton of music that’s in the cloud… and that company shuts down.  How do you hold on to that music?  Were you just renting it?  What happens if the parent company gets into a disagreement with the management of your favorite band and their catalog is removed from your clous storage?

Cover of "Idiocracy"

“…a time when people cared about who’s ass it was, and why it was farting!”

What if you bought the movie Idiocracy and it becomes so true to life that it’s banned?  Don’t sit back comfortably and think it can’t happen.  Books are banned all the time by different groups.  No one comes & takes all of your books… yet.  What if the banned book could be deleted from your Kindle or Nook?  All In The Family would never fly on TV now, but what if it was no longer available because of its abrasive humor?

I just feel uneasy about it.

That being said, I absolutely hate cash money.  I hardly ever have it on me.  I like swiping my card for everything.  If I could use it in parking meters and pop machines, I would.  There’s a swing back towards cash though, as credit card company fees are crushing small businesses, especially if you’re making a purchase with a low dollar amount.  Is it odd that I have no problem with my money being intangible,  but when I use to to purchase an album or a movie… I need that to be tangible?

I’d like to get a good discussion going in the comments.