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Damn, I’m Letting the Record Companies Win!

May 31, 2010

I hate the music industry.  Specifically I hate the RIAA, an organization whose original purpose was to come up with a standardized equalization curve for recorded music many many years ago.  They seemed to do a fine job with that, but what the hell happened since?  Copyright law, DRM and the entertainment industry generally torque me off — but that’s topic for a different day when I have a lot more time.  Here’s what’s really got my goat today:

I have been an avid record buyer, collector, trader since I was 4 years old (that was in 1962).  I have literally mountains of vinyl, which I play. Last year I became an ipod owner. 90% of my iPod use is being plugged into the stereo in my car, set on “shuffle”.  I have 1800 songs in it right now nearly all came from digital sources — ripped from my CD’s, downloaded from iTunes, EMusic, etc, or ripped in from friends CD’s (a way to get music into your system with out dealing with any DRM — about 4 of us have literally exchanged CD collections hauling them home in CD cases of 30 at a time to rip what we like into each others devices).  But now I find myself wanting a LOT of the music I have on vinyl in my ipod.  This is where the industry has got us by the short hairs.  The time involved into dumping vinyl or other analog sources into the computer is almost not worth it compared to the cost of just buying the stuff AGAIN in digital form. So, they’re winning, making us buy things we already own.  Granted there are a lot of vinyl LP’s I’ve converted just because they’re not available digitally, and I always make SURE to make copies available to anyone I know who wants one as I feel the industry owes me for making me buy so much over again, just to play it on a modern device.  I’m sure this was all part of their original plan. They can just keep on selling you the same thing over and over again!  Just torques me off is all.  Oh, and as much as I adore Apple computers, devices and their operating systems, and even the App Store, I must steer you toward EMusic.  EMusic has tons of music, especially if you want oldies, jazz, blues, vintage country — pretty much anything that’s not a current hit, and the price is generally 1/2 to 1/4 the cost of the same tracks on iTunes or from Amazon. They often have specials where you can buy “booster packs” of downloads, e.g. a recent one was 50 tracks for $19.99.  Couple this with the fact that often many albums have special deals, e.g. an 18 track album may be a deal of the day for only 12 download credits.  So, you’re already at 40 cents a track, now you’re less than that depending on the number of tracks in the album that’s got a deal going on.  Oh, and they’re all good ol’ mp3’s.  No DRM, and they play in anything. Oh, and you get the image for the cover art with it!  It’s a subscription deal, but it’s cheap and fun.

Now I’m reminded of Disney.  Sold me all those VHS tapes with the fancy pants copy protection built in. So, now that I can’t even BUY a decent VHS player I can’t watch the expensive Disney library I accumulated while my 4 kids were kids.  And damned if you can copy them to DVD!  Their copy protection makes my VHS to DVD machine pop up with all sorts of warnings and alert boxes telling me I can’t possibly copy this. So, the old ancient tapes can’t even be copied to fresh tape, much less a DVD — even though I’d still only have analog, old tape quality. Grrrr.  But wait!  Here’s a little device I can buy from a seller in Israel!  It lets me play my copy protected VHS tapes into my DVD recorder and takes out the copy protection!  Yeah!  I can now watch what I own!  And to get even for Disney’s screwing with my property I made copies for my grand kids!  HA! Including some titles that are currently not available from their “vault”  Double HA!  And now I find that the device I bought for my computer that lets me convert my own VHS tapes to DVD will also let all that copy protected analog stuff too!

The industry seems to not care that all they’re doing is making regular customers angry, while the pirates who want to sell this stuff always find ways around it all and make millions of dollars anyway.

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