Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Jingles and Dimes

I had originally posted this as a response to the "Dutch pass iPod Tax" article and I am so proud my own brilliance that I thought I'd leave it here.

LOL, no, the fact is that, since I'm new to Slashdot, it took me a bit to "get" that the best way for what you write to be seen is to answer someone else's post. Or post earlier. Anyhow, this isn't even an answer to anything, it's how I see things, so I guess the best place for a rant would be here anyways. Here goes...

I think much of this discussion about the tax levy, as well as the tax itself, is besides the point.

This is far from the first time we've heard the record industry's "Eeek they're pirating us!" screech - remember when cassettes came out? Ask your grandad about the record industry hullaballoo when radio started airing music. And ask you're great-grandad what operetta owners had to say about the invention of the gramaphone. Each "old technology" thought that the new would be the death of it. The market did indeed change, but this was never so.

What makes the game different this time around is not only the government's "trying to help" in a very undemocratic way (and "the road to hell is paved with good intentions", my grandaddy always loved to say), but also the state of the music industry. it is a wreck.

As far as I'm concerned all this whining and grubbing is for the sake of stockholders only. Music sales are indeed going down the tubes but it's not only for the piracy. Granted many young'uns have been brought up with the "if it's online it's free" mentality, but we all seem to be forgetting one major major detail - sound quality.

When I was a kid I was happy with the sound of a tape recorded from a friends LP - or from the radio - but could I stand that flat muffled quality on my hi-fi today? Methinks not for more than ten minutes, and that's leaving lots of room for the nostalgia factor.

If they really, really wanted to crack down on "piracy" as they say, they would make it illegal to swap music online above a certain bitrate. This would not only draw the line between "sampling" and piracy, but as I suggested with my first adverb, it would most probably even help the sale of "real" music. Think to the "hearing it on the radio" days: Many of those who did and like the song would go to their Dr. Disc and shell out for the album. Mp3's are exactly this for me today.

If the music companies really wanted to get their [expletive]s out of the hole they'd go back to letting people make music instead of trying to mold the entire industry, from creation to sales, to what they think their increasingly younger lemming-audience are most likely to buy.

As for the tax bit: In any democracy, any charge taken from one party can only be justified by the costs it makes for another. This tax law is none of that, as it takes from an indistiguished everyone to deliver to a pre-prescribed... cause. Whether it be for the government's "anti piracy squad" or to the record labels themselves, any such law will but thievery to more than a few - rightful owners of music, for example, who like the handiness of an mp3 player - and thievery it is. I'm not sure who started this ball rolling, but as far as this law is concerned, I see it as one government copying another's (they did it first and no-one complained so it must be OK!) legislation.

Really, to be honest, I haven't the slightest how things should be set straight again. Toss it all and start from scratch, perhaps. I've still got my Fender and a wicked hair-do - anyone good on the drums?