If the music industry wants people to obtain songs legally, then they should do everything in their power to make the user experience simple and clean. This week, after downloading Media Player 10, I decided to give the Microsoft Music Store a shot. Getting replacement albums through them is cheaper than purchasing the CD used from the store, and you get a flawless variable bit rate transfer to play on your stereo. No scratches, no shopping. Just get the track and there you go.
I have an iRiver H-120 (20 Gig iPod Killer) and it's one of my greatest treasures. So far, it's filled with home-made mp3s/wmas, burned from my CD collection. There are a few KaZaA snatches, too, numbering in the lower 10s. I am, for most intents and purposes, a legal music fan, friend to the RIAA.
After purchasing Bjork's Homogenic from the MSN Music Store, I was HORRIFIED to discover that I was not allowed to transfer the songs to my iRiver. Apparently, iRiver H120 is not supported by Windows Media Player. There is a solution available, but in order to get the necessary technical support, I have to pay Microsoft 35 dollars. What's worse: if I spend 35 bucks on the tech support, I have no guarantee that they will provide the solution.
So now I have 11 MP3s that I can't do a damn thing with. I don't know how to transfer the license into my iRiver, or even if it's possible at all.
I signed onto Kazaa and downloaded the same tracks again, illegally (?). And while I was there, I grabbed a copy of 2 other Bjork albums.
What I want is to send my money to the artist. I believe in it. I don't want people watching Boom Shows through the window, and I don't want Bjork to have the same uncompensated experience, either. I've purchased her albums repeatedly, so on this level I don't feel guilty. But fuck Microsoft/Napster/Emusic for not allowing me to *listen* to my music. That's hideous and I won't be spending another dime on a legal mp3 until they provide a solution to me free of charge. It's frustrating; I want to obey the law, even if it means sending Bjork 3 cents and sending Universal Music 14.99. But if I can't hear the song I bought, then I might as well just delete the Mp3s from my Hard Drive.
In other news, I went fishing this week, a short distance north of Centraal Station on Ken Schaafle's boat. We caught 4 fish, but threw them back.
I wasn't expecting to be bothered by it, but I was. In my romanticized version of the night's events, we would catch the fish and then eat them. Throwing them back was barbaric ... and anticlimactic. I'm not a hunter for sport. I want to hunt for the consumption; the primal feast and the grounding fulfillment it brings. There I was, taking photos of the sunset and dangling my bamboo pole in the water, leisurely waxing on the nature of homelessness and begging ... it was wonderful, but truly disheartening. I think I've been depressed since.
Also, while I'm here, I should note that everyone who was debating with me about convenience and the violent plight of modern America -- know that I didn't abandon your responses; they're all very smart and valid. I figure I'll be touching on it all again in the future, but today I had something different to say. Thanks to everyone for being passionate!
It is ironic that I'm lamenting the lack of instant gratification in this post after celebrating it in the last one.
But I also know that when I get my mp3 player to recognize those files, I will treasure them more than if I had been spoiled by their accessibility earlier.