Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Now powered by a broadband connection, I've set about starting to live a cyber-life worthy of someone with my inclinations. After some hesitation, I got iTunes again and downloaded a few of those annoying songs that artists leave off all but their main albums then slip onto their greatest hits (which as you've got all their albums, you don't want to buy).

Monday morning always contains the challenge for me of thinking of random speaking topics that I can use in my lessons for the week. Inspired by recent purchases from iTunes and the beleaguered Real Groovy, I raised the topic of following and purchasing music. Some still tuned into the radio; others didn't follow music at all any more; but the greatest number did still follow music and downloaded music for their consumption. Did you pay for it? I inquired. To my surprise not a single person paid for their music downloads ever in their past (I didn't expect that there would be a high number, but I did expect at least a few to have).

Naturally, climbing onto the moral high ground with a tin opener and a can of worms, I delved deeper. You're well-paid auditors; if you aren't paying for music, who would? Why wouldn't you pay for music if you have appreciation for those who produce it?

The responses and defences were quite interesting. The most defiant stated that the number of illegal downloads showed the market itself was faulty. (It would be interesting to see the calculation of whether the market would survive if it allowed free downloads of all artists - he thought so; I did not.) Another raised the point that downloaded music might encourage people to buy the CDs hence it should be legalised (Did he buy CDs subsequent to downloading? Never). One said that many artists allowed music downloads proving it should be OK for all artists to survive doing so (I'd agree that musicians should be able to choose whether to allow such downloads but for the user to trample on this choice or to use those that do as justification is a bit unwise). A fairly common theme was also saying that the musicians tended to waste their money anyway and didn't deserve any more money (interestingly, these views came from proud capitalists from former communist countries).

I tried not to be too judgemental - but it is rather cool to have a controversial topic to discuss. So who does pay for stuff these days? On a Daniel survey of those around, I'm the lone person to pay. How can this business model work?


Jo said...

I buy CDs. :)

James said...

I would pay for a song (say, $3) so long as I didn't have to download software to my computer.

Crypticity said...

That's good to hear :-) It seems that my general circle of friends and family don't download music, just my students....