Remember when we used to be friends? Remember when you used to be obsessed with setting the industry standard for musical recording and reproduction? You brought the cassette into America’s living rooms. You brought the CD into everyone’s Walkman. Music was reaching new levels for both of us. I used to wish those happy days would never end.
Times changed when I downloaded Napster in 2000, nearly 8 years ago. I can still remember the first track I downloaded. It was Spears’ hit, “Oops! I did it again.” Whether I’m proud of that or not, it changed the way I listened to music. Burning my own CDs became a distinct passion of mine. Making mix tapes for the first time in my life was orgasmic.
But, in 1999, a year before my introduction to Napster, you slammed them with a lawsuit. And in July of 2001, Napster finally shut its doors.
That wasn’t the end. Bigger and better things came along. Limewire, Bearshare, Oink and numerous torrent sites made music downloading easier than ever. You fought fiercely, suing both torrent sites and 12-year old kids alike. How nice of you.
You still haven’t scared us off yet. Even after you skewed research blaming us college kids for most illegal downloads, we’re still here. The number of people you sue or threaten to sue is so incrementally small that it really has no effect on the larger, downloading populous out there. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, you may just want to check yourself in. It isn’t working.
But RIAA, don’t cry. Wipe those tears away. I still love you. I want to buy music from you. Really. I miss going into a record store and picking up a new, shiny album. I want to buy music from you online too. But you know that Digital Rights Management (DRM) stuff you put on those tracks? Yeah, it sucks. When I buy a track, I want to be able to do what I want with it. It’s mine. Imagine if you bought a car and Honda told you that you could only drive it for 10,000 in Illinois. Wouldn’t that suck? You own the damn thing.
And pricing. $0.99 for an iTunes track that’s not even CD quality? How about $0.49 for a DRM-free one? There’s a price for everything. Honest.
Oh and MPAA, if you’re listening, this goes for you too. Why do I have to pay $9.99 to buy a digital-only copy of a movie? You’re not even going to send me a hard copy to go along with that 10 bucks? Sheesh. You’re harsh.
Now, you guys (the RIAA) have approved Qtrax. A peer-to-peer network that is completely free and legal with millions of songs. Oh, what’s that? I can’t play the songs on my iPod? They have DRM!? You’re too silly RIAA. That’s not going to work either!
Listen RIAA, I have money. I want to give it to you. You just need to grow up. Get out of those DRM-ed diapers. Bands don’t need you that much anymore if people are just going to download tracks. Established bands make enough money on tour without you to survive on their own. Look at Radiohead. You don’t have to hate them!
Just because you stop one small torrent site doesn’t mean it’s over. Something bigger and better always comes along. You’re digging your own grave. Stop playing with my heart. We’re both lost in this game. And RIAA, you’re not that innocent.
Ode to my first love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unBACOHFXes
[image from Flickr]