Tuesday, 13 May 2008

on purchasing music

this weekend, i had the chance to see glimpses of a reportage on the swedish television svt about the music-industry, its ongoing problems with pirating and possible solutions. i'm not very much into this discussion, as the music business is definitely not where i am aiming after i'm done studying. but as someone who loves listening to music (at least, every now and then) i still have some interest.

basically, most of the time it was the same arguments and the same points that everybody has heard a thousand times, up and down again. "the music-industry has failed to jump on the internet-wave in time, selling cds is not the main way of distribution anymore, and so on and so on." anyway, there were two points that i found interesting and important, for me as a normal girl who wants to be able to listen to music legally on which ever medium i chose.

the first one is, that if i pay a certain amount of money, i want to own the piece of music and be able to copy it to as many different places as i want. this means, that things like copy-protection don't make me want to buy a cd, or that copy-limitation does not make me want to download music legally. if i, for example, download a certain song on the itunes-store, then i can only copy it to three different media. my mobile phone, my ipod and my computer. if my computer breaks down or my mobile phone gets stolen, i have to buy the song again, as i cannot copy it one more time because of copy-limitations. so, no option.

another example: a few years ago, before mp3-players became something everybody has, i bought some cds in sweden and norway which have a special copy-protection. this copy-protection disables my computer from importing the songs to itunes, as my cd-burner/player just cannot read them. what am i supposed to do now? buy the songs from itunes and pay for the cd a second time? for me as a not-earning-so-very-much-money-student not an option. basically, the only way to get a free version of the cd i have purchased would be to download it illegally. which i do not want to do.

so, what would be important for the music-industry is to find ways that enable people to easily purchase the music they want for whichever media they chose to use for listening.

the second point had to do with the amount of money people spend on music. it's actually a fairly easy mathematics: the more money i spend, the more value i want to get for it. people like to spend money on concerts, as they get an unforgettable evening and the artist in person, something special, for their money. if i buy a cd, i get a plastic box, a nice cover, the songtexts, some information about the artist, someting i can hold in my hands. real value. if i download, i get data and can listen to the music, but nothing more. no cover-art, nothing in my hands. not so much value. so, if i have to pay the same amount of money (or almost the same) for downloading an album as for buying it on cd, i feal cheated. especially if i get copy-limitation with it.

in brasil, there is this movement that sees cds as a merchandise for the concerts. apart from the rest of what they were doing (basically only sampling the newest hits from the us, without paying for the right to use it - me, i don't like that), this is a very good point. they record the concerts directly, and in the end of the evening, people can come and buy a cd with the concert they had just heard for a small amount of money. no really good quality, but a reminder of the good time you had there, and therefore also a reminder to go to the next concert.

basically, this means one thing: if you want people to buy your cd, give them value. something extra. it also means, if you want people to download your stuff, make it cheap and easy.
there was one, well, not solution, but still a suggestion that someone had on the reportage: pay around 10 euro per month for a listen-online-program. this means that you can chose to listen online (no download) as much as you like, and you can listen to what you like. make your own radioprogram. you don't own the pice of music, but you get all you can eat for a fair price. me like. very much.

No comments: