Bier de Stone (slavezombie) wrote,
Bier de Stone
slavezombie

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music playback versus music payback

Memory is the new job market and technology functions as the enticement. Just as advertisers are constantly using the 'sex sells' criteria in selling hamburgers, cars, clothing, electronic programming engineers use their nifty software creations to reel people in for the kill. I'm speaking of tech wizards like Napster. Remember them? Wasn't it oh so cute when people could upload their songs, converting them into MP3 format, and make new friends online who were interested in swapping MP3 files for songs by bands they didn't own? One has to take into consideration, business being what it is, that the creators of like minded web sites and software think ahead to foresee the loopholes in their creations. In other words, they know that somebody is going to complain about their business practices and so they calculate how much time their budding business will last before it is eventually shut down forcibly.

Another example of this kind of enticement big business is always so eager to use is Flickr dot com. Oh, they may say they're upfront with their customers, and claim their intentions are all described in the terms and agreement their members read and agree to when they sign themselves up. But come on, who reads that mumble jumble anyways? Well, flickr works great for the first 200 uploads, but if you are linking the images from flickr to your home page, when you reach 200, flickr stops allowing hotlinks to function. How do they do that? The only solution flickr seems to be offering is that one delete a few old photos before continuing. Flickr technology is sex for the technologically curious. Memory with flickr must then be the equivalent to exclusiveness in relationships. Just like meaningless sex is obtainable most everywhere (for money), flickr comes free to those who know where to dig. The only difference is the meaninglessness of free flickr accounts, in real life, is what men might find themselves paying for with their hard earned cash; whereas exclusive relationships with sexually active couples offers freebies. Quite different, wouldn't you say, from being exclusive with flickr and paying their monthly charge for memory space on their servers.

I don't know the technical aspect of how flickr blocks hotlinks to their members' photos. One has to wonder why it is they even allow people to go thru the steps of blogging their photos with a third party blogging service if the whole thing is done in vain until the old photo links are deleted. But lately I've noticed another whimsical behavior in digital manipulation. Whenever I inserted a music CD into my computer's disc drive, all the track listings don't have song titles. This was never the case when I had DSL. I'm currently in the market for a reasonable Internet provider as att worldnet went out of business and unplugged me, but that's another story. For now, my main concern is title listings for songs on a studio released music CD. I always thought popping in a CD and copying it onto iTunes was internal, between the computer and the CD. I even marveled at how advanced CDs have become since the days when people could only listen to their music on a stereo.

I want to analogize a scene from the movie Judgment at Nuremberg because there is a scene in which somebody asks a typical German citizen how they could allow the Nazi's to cremate all those Jews, and the German housewife replied, "We didn't know they were doing that." I could've read an article in the LA Times dated March 28, 2008 by a journalist named Michelle Quinn who writes "Just as consumers now pay for HBO, they may one day be charged for a digital music service as part of their monthly Internet bill" and "Warner Music Group confirmed Thursday that it was discussing a subscription service, at a cost of perhaps $5 a month added to Internet bills…" from the article Subscription services gain interest among music labels. If that isn't a precursor of what we're seeing, I don't know what is. Take att. Hypothetically speaking, what would they do if they were being harassed by their customers when att decided to drop their usenet newsgroup service, a small faction of service which various e-mail readers allow subscription for their users. Some hard core newsgroup readers may have dumped att that very instant, other might've tried requesting a reduction in their bill. If enough people complained, att might indeed have had to explain how it is they had been overcharging their customers, so to doctor their books, what they decide to do is reduce monthly bills by $5 but, at the same time, increase the same bill by $5, calling the increase an music digital subscription.

Since the music digital subscription had been under discussion since 2008 when this article was published, the quote from a music executive puts it plainly as something to expect if you already subscribe to a DSL service provider.

'All the labels agree to the idea of subscription and we're all talking about the structure of how much music over how much time, It's not meant to be a panacea, but to help support this area of retail.'

Although anonymously quoted, Michelle Quinn has really managed to capture the essence of the competition taking place. Memory costs money.

I had stumbled onto this article when I tried searching out information on how recording studios format their music CD so that a computer recognizes song titles if the computer has an active DSL signal, but lists sound tracks as track 1, track 2, etc. if no DSL signal is available. Is this part of the agreement recording studios settled in their attempt to regulate MP3 software? If so, and it may not be a big deal yet, is the matter of seeing the music digital increase yet another obstacle in people's rights to own a CD and listen to it however they please? Who's to say. Quinn states that a former music executive wasn't available for comment, but that Jim Griffin had been quoted in a different article in Portfolio.com as saying the following, but pay close attention at the sentence structure as I'm clipping this portion of Quinn's article directly.

"Jim Griffin as a consultant several months ago to help plot the label's digital future. Griffin could not be reached for comment.¶
But he told Portfolio.com that 'today, it has become purely voluntary to pay for music. . . . If I tell you to go listen to this band, you could pay, or you might not. It's pretty much up to you. So the music business has become a big tip jar.'"

My views might be a bit odd, but it's my opinion that DSL customers would like to know if their bills are being doctored in such a fashion as hidden charges being radically monopolized. Perhaps it just a matter of interpretation in that before the discussions of music digital subscriptions came under scrutiny, Internet providers were including this service free; but that only proves logical if digital music subscriptions can be described as song listings by title. Isn't it safe to assume that not every computer owner and web surfer can type? Why should people who buy iPods have to know how to type? If you ask this of a music executive, the most likely answer he'll give you is that he doesn't have to know how to type and an iPod owner can download his music thru iTunes. How soon we forget of the soon to be outmoded music CD. Memory.

I stand by the idea that rhetoric used in news stories to confuse the reader as with the use of four dotted ellipses—an attempt to convey quotes made out of context?—and re-using a previous quote taken from another publication as reference to the opinion of an expert in the industry otherwise not available for comments. I also feel it isn't clear to give consumers one of two options in their music listening experience. To have been quoted as saying they can either choose to pay for a song or not is very close to saying that a consumer can either choose to pay for a song or decide it's too expensive to pay for and decline purchase, or choose to pay for a song as well as to get the song for free. But a digital music subscription isn't free after all, is it. It's a ploy to charge people the right to have memory.





Michelle Quinn. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Mar 28, 2008. pg. C.3
Tags: illustration, journalism, music, pilcrow, techy
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