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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Subscription Music -Rent vs Own

Read this story about robbing Napster-to-go. It's getting a lot of attention this morning on the gawker nerd sites (Gizmodo and Lifehacker).

As a computer professional and lover of music, I have to comment on this stuff. Big Deal. It's the exact same concept as when I used to listen to the Weekly Top 40 with Shadow Stevens and record songs off the radio (back in 1990). You can record any sound that is playing, but it'll be sucky sound. They didn't really mention that in this write up. You can record sound! Stop the presses.

I love subscription music. But it only works for me because 1) I'm a nerd that loves discovering new music 2) I'm attached to a computer and high-speed internet 24 hours a day. I didn't buy Interpol's latest. But I can listen to it legally in it's entirety anytime any windows computer is attached to a high-speed connection. Just think when they perfect cell phone delivery (relevant article here).

A good example of how I use subscription music is would be Rilo Kiley and the Redwalls that I've been loving lately. I checked them out on my Rhapsody player. I like them a lot. So I went out and bought them on CD. I wanted to own them but I never would have if I didn't hear them many, many, many times over Rhapsody. It only costs me $9.99 a month for the privilege. So this month I've spent the same amount of money as three CDs (Rilo Kiley, Redwalls, and 9.99 to Rhapsody), but I sure as heck got a lot more music. Yes I'm "renting" the rhapsody stuff but it's the stuff I enjoyed listening to but I probably wasn't going to buy anyway. Plus I have the chance of discovering someone new that I'll want to "own"

I've read a WashPost thing this weekend about "renting" music. He makes some good points specific to Napster-to-go, but his last paragraph, he misses the point I think. Yes, you have to pay money (15.99 for Napster, only 9.99 for Rhapsody) every month to keep listening to your music. What a small price to pay! I'm not buying Kelly Clarkson or Avril's record. I'm not going to buy Ciara's. But I listen to them quite a bit lately. That's what subscription music does for me. It's not a replacement for hardcopies (i.e. CDs), its a beautiful supplement. I think of it more as radio, that I control.

I friggin listened to Ella Fitzgerald backed with Peggy Lee backed with the Rutles backed with the Redwalls backed with Rilo Kiley backed with Jack Kerouac backed with John Cale backed with Das/Efx backed with a latin sampler called "Canciones Del Corazon: Baladas" that had "Eres Tu" from Tommy Boy on it. Plus a bunch of Robert Johnson and Joan Baez. That was my playlist I listened to at home from Friday till this morning. I'm amazed at this technology and can't stress it enough.

There are some problems with subscription music (and you can probably imagine how long that post might be) but for now, I just want to defend it 'cause I'm loving it.

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