Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Pick and Mix

Just to round off on why people are buying less music - I came across this article on Competition in the Music Industry. It's not exactly fresh news - but it makes two interesting points - the first that people buying for download only choose the tracks they want - no more buying the whole album. Thus sales of downloaded music are likely to be lower than 'bundled' album sales. The second is that true competition should mean that prices are pressed and music companies are making less money.

In fact given that the sales of music seem to be shrinking so much year on year you might expect to see prices tumbling as firms compete to get a share of both CD and online sales. Unless of course they collude to maintain a minimum price. Where have I heard that before???

Also a bit long in the tooth - but this article on the right price for digital music pretty much hits the nail on the head. Like buying an airline seat at Ryanair - the price per track could vary depending on demand. Obscure tracks for minor artists would be dirt cheap - until they catch on and then the price starts to go up... And maybe next month when it's no longer hot property, the price will be back down to size...

Where did all the music go?

Right now I'm in the midst of a media boycott.. and THE trial is underway here in Stockholm pitting the music industry against The Pirate Bay. Reading soime of the replies that TPB have posted to notices from copyright holders I can't say I'm surprised that all sorts of people are guns blazing for a prosecution. Right now though that all seems to hang on technicalities - in that a Torrent tracker doesn't actually do more than link to where a file might be.

But that's by the by.. as part of the trial there's big talk of damages... that downloading copyright material is causing big losses to the music industry as people stop buying CDs. But despite wanting to press for punitive sums in damages it doesn't really seem to be proven that that is actually the case. There is a lot of music in circulation... but how much of that would ever be bought at industry list price is debatable.

But maybe people are buying less music for other reasons? People like me that can afford to go down to the shops and splash out on a few full price albums know that they are being ripped off - and like me look elsewhere for new music. Music from the internet doesn't have to be pirated... there are thousands of Internet radio stations to choose from... and here at least plenty of second hand stores to browse.

So I could pay full price - but I choose to buy from a source that gives me value for money, and the satisfaction of supporting a local entrepreneur - and makes sure that a big fat zero ends up in those dwindling sales figures. The spectre of media industry lawyers bullying customers into line has quite simply taken all the pleasure out of buying new....

The last CDs I bought were in fact second hand from Stadsmissionen - a charity here in Sweden supporting the homeless. A much more deserving cause.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Found: In Pandora's box

I just found this in Rick Falkvinge's blog... a report from the EU on basic rights on the Internet that seems to be fundamentally critical of much that is happening in Europe today to legislate and encroach on personal integrity and privacy rights on the net. Seems almost to good to be true...

And just this time Rick has it in English....

Go Read!

Monday, 2 February 2009

A sound for sore ears

I just found this link to to a great new music service..

... a reaction to the announcement from Spotify that they are being forced to remove music from their streaming music service because of geographical licensing restrictions and unwilling artists. It seems a shame that an attractive and imaginative new service can't get the support it needs from the music industry.

..but that's how things work in a monopoly, right?

Meanwhile, if you are using Spotify you might enjoy this blog.. basically a music blog highlighting the latest additions to the catalog - including links from the album coverart to the album on Spotify. Neat.

(I wonder if they got permission to do that? You did remember that the artwork on an album is copyright too???)


I was on the Political Compass site yesterday - interested to see where my views landed me...
(.. the answer to that was that they land somewhat close to those of the Dalai Lama)
I then went on to check out the same political compass on Facebook. Reading the wall discussions there it suddenly struck me how much of political discussion starts from a position of selfishness - particularly prevalent in the American 'Liberal' position which, to me at least can be summarised as "I want the freedom to not give a s*** about anyone else."

I was reminded of an old parable about heaven and hell. There are many versions it seems, used by everyone from the Pope downwards.. I found mine here... and it goes like this..

Once upon a time, in a temple nestled in the misty end of south hill, lived a pair of monks. One old and one young.

'What is the difference between Heaven and Hell?' the young monk asked his learned master one day. 'There are no material differences,' replied the old monk peacefully.

'None at all?' asked the confused young monk. 'No. Both Heaven and Hell look the same. They both have a dining hall with a big hot pot in the centre. In it there are some delicious noodles boiling, giving off an appetizing scent,' said our old priest. " and there are people sitting around the pot in just the same way.'

'Each diner has a pair of meter-long chopsticks to eat with." the zen master went on. 'but in Hell, no matter how hard they try, people always fail to get the noodles into their mouths,and they are all starving'.

'But isn't it the same for the people in Heaven?' asked the junior.

'Not at all. In Heaven they each feed the person sitting opposite them. That is the difference between Heaven and Hell.' said the old monk.

Media Boycott

It started with a blog.... Svensk Mydighetskontroll who propose a three week media boycott as a protest against IPRED and the media industry. The proposition is simple. For three weeks from the 9th of February avoid purchases that support the media industry.
  • No purchases of CD's.
  • No purchases of films.
  • No purchases of computer games.
  • No visits to movie theaters.
  • No movie rentals.

As I've said in other posts, I think that the media industry abuses it's monopoly - and copyright 'crime' is in no way justification for the private power to violate the privacy of communication that IPRED implies. As for denying people access to the internet because they are filesharing... c'mon. Who thought that one up?

Anyway.. if you've made it this far reading this, I hope you're going to support and publicise this small step in showing that what the media industry wants is out of step with what is right for consumers...

Now of course also on Facebook..

Sunday, 1 February 2009

On Liberty

"When a People once permits Government to violate the genuine Principles of Liberty, Encroachment will be grafted upon Encroachment; Evil will grow upon Evil; Violation will follow Violation, and Power will engender Power, till the Liberties of ALL will be held at despotic command"

London Correspondence Society, 1798

A common treasury for all

A modern parable..