Friday, February 20, 2009

Paradigm shift - rock on


I suppose we all remember years back when Napster was the 'it' word for downloading music for "free" from the internet. If I remember correctly all the people who did this downloading thing were claiming it was in the best interest of the world-wide-web and it was all about freedom and everything. When asked whether the artists who created this music should be payed for their art, many of these 'free-thinkers' would say that the musical artists are all ba-jillionairs and it was only right that they share their music for free. Rumour has it that many of these same people (the 'free-thinkers' that is) went on to practice what they preached and worked for free, and ended up living in dumpsters and under bridges, wondering what the heck happened to the world of freedom that they had so clearly seen in those heady, crazy days when everything looked possible and mommy and daddy paid the bills.

Well even back then there were actual bands that stood up and dared to say, "we want to be paid for what we do!" I believe that Metallica was the first to speak up, and they took a fair amount of flack for it, too. "Greedy", they were called for daring to want to be paid for their work. It appeared that old-style capitalism was rearing it's ugly head in the land of rock 'n roll, and the usual crew didn't like it, having to pay for their wants. On one hand I can sort of understand what the usual crew was talking about. Rock 'n roll has traditionally meant freedom, but those lives of excess that our favourite rockers live costs money. Generally lots of money, and by my lights that's just fine. I think where the disconnect was, was that formerly it just wasn't easy to get your music for free. Then everybody with a computer and a high-speed connection could pull as much free music off the 'net as they had hard-drive space for, and obviously if they could do it, it must be right and okay. Well, the fact is that it wasn't right and it wasn't okay. The only thing was how to use the internet in a way that the bands were paid for what they did.

Oddly enough, Metallica once again is taking the fore-front (or at least they are in the top ten) in the "music-wars" and this is a good thing. With the CD, St. Anger, they included a DVD of the band playing every song on the disc in 5.1 sound. Regardless of what you think of the disc, the video is cool. On the Metallica web-site, you can download many of their concerts, and a lot of them are free. Now I'm sure that Metallica isn't the only band who decided to face this internet thing face-on, but they are the only one I have come across and it shows a degree of originality and ingenuity that I wish more bands would follow.

There are also sites where you can buy the individual songs that you want, and although I think the individual prices are a little high just now, I'm sure they are going to come down eventually. And to those who still claim that it is the birth-right of all interneters to get their music for free; you guys are just thieves. Be honest about it. How's that sound?

Anyway... Humouroceros

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