Apples + Ideas

02008-06-30 | Computer, Music | 5 comments

George Bernard Shaw Quote
If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.

Or – If you have a CD and I have a CD and we exchange these CDs then you and I will still each have one CD. But if you have an mp3 and I have an mp3 and we exchange these mp3s, then each of us will have two mp3s.

And therein lies the problem nobody has figured out yet.

5 Comments

  1. Decomprose

    Great analogy. An exchange of food merely sustains the body and is not seen as a positive impact here. An exchange of information sustains the mind and is therefore seen as having greater value.

    Thirty five years ago the music industry sold LPs. I bought LPs in used record stores. It was great because I got quality and affordability. Record labels didn’t create proprietary LPs and players, though they could have. Many LPs were sold to libraries and people who didn’t pay the record label enjoyed the music anyway.

    Twenty five years ago the music industry sold cassettes. I bought a cassette deck and made mix tapes from my LPs. I made some for myself, and some for other people too. My first dual cassette deck allowed for easy copying. Record labels still didn’t create proprietary LPs or cassettes and players, though they could have. Many cassettes were sold to libraries and people who didn’t pay the record label enjoyed the music anyway.

    For the last twenty years the music industry has sold CDs. I have a computer and have made mix CDs for myself, and some for other people too. My Apple MacPro allows for easy copying. Record labels have created proprietary music formats but they are easily overcome by simply burning a CD and re-importing the CD file instead of the original one. Many CDs are sold to libraries and people who didn’t pay the record label enjoy the music anyway.

    From a music listener’s perspective not much has changed in thirty five years.

    Well, except that since they started selling CDs the record labels are making it harder and harder for me to enjoy their product. And the harder the industry makes it for fans, the more resentful fans become. Why on earth should someone purchasing music have to acknowledge a set of legal terms and conditions, be held to a certain number of burnings, be forced to download nefarious software, and be restricted to playback in a particular brand of appliance?

    Sometimes I just like a song. Sometimes I just want to support an artist. Sometimes I can’t understand how tremendously scared the record labels must be to try to force fans through this wringer. Have any industry execs considered that illegal MP3 downloading and copying files may not be the reasons why sales are down; it may simply be because people don’t want to have to hire a lawyer and an IT security consultant in order to get some music.

    People find a way to share what they love. People will continue to share music, just like they always have, no matter what format it arrives in. Consider something from the LP days though that couldn’t be shared on a cassette: the art, the booklets, the posters, all the goodies that occasionally came with LPs. That was great stuff. Some bands now have digital booklets and videos with their CDs, but those items can be copied to disk also. Why not release CDs in a pack with a concert poster in a tube or a book of photos, you know, all that great stuff that made fans rush out to get their own copies back in the 60s and 70s.

    The industry could also give itself some breathing room by simply having artists record more than 700 MB of music and recording it onto DVDs rather than CDs; the cost difference would be negligible and most fans don’t have DVD burners yet. That might cut down on the sharing.

    I absolutely agree that artists should be paid a fair price for their work, and I’d rather pay the artist directly. Thanks for Listening Lounge! The record labels sorely need to evolve; their 1970s business model simply won’t work anymore. I’m glad you left them behind.

    Reply
  2. ottmar

    You write:

    Why on earth should someone purchasing music have to acknowledge a set of legal terms and conditions, be held to a certain number of burnings, be forced to download nefarious software, and be restricted to playback in a particular brand of appliance?

    Hm, because that’s what you do for every update of the OS for your MacPro, for every other software you buy, even for any web site you open an account with. Why are you willing to do that for software, but not for music?

    Reply
  3. steve1

    Ottmar: “Hm, because that’s what you do for every update of the OS for your MacPro, for every other software you buy, even for any web site you open an account with. Why are you willing to do that for software, but not for music?”

    Although I can’t speak for Decomprose, I can speak for myself… This is precisely why I am a Linux/FreeBSD user. I’m NOT willing to do that for music, software, nor any other form of digital media that carries such nefarious legal terms and conditions attached to use.

    Those that insist on such terms, don’t receive my business and never will.

    Reply
  4. curt

    I think the problem is larger than its solution. It would be very simple to create a file type that is uncopyable. You could move the file but not copy it. This would result in the equivalent of the exchange of a physical object if you wanted to lend a particular song or album to a friend. You would no longer have these files and you would continue to not have them until your friend returned them to you.

    Like I said, simple solution. The problem, however, is huge. How do we get OS providers to adopt this file protection scheme? How do we get users to abandon the way that they have enjoyed their digital music collections for years and years? Afterall, backups, as we know them, would not be possible and having copies of files on two computers as well as a portable device would not be possible (personally, I feel that this just another example of the typical American attitude of “I want it all, and then some”… but that’s not the point of this comment).

    There is something to be said for getting it right the first time. I think we screwed this one up royally the first time and there may not be a second chance.

    Reply
  5. Victor

    In the past, intellectual property was partially protected by the media that carried it in that the effort to reproduce it was a deterrent. Not the case with digital media… so along comes the “free culture movement”. I think that “free culture” is naive. Do we really want all musicians and writers and computer programmers to be part-time hobbyists? If so then I think the cost of that is obvious. If not then we agree to be legally bound by rules that protect intellectual property and we put measures in place to enforce that. This is not different than any other number of legal bindings we agree to every day.

    Reply

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