Wednesday 22 December 2010

WEB207 - Topic 1.3 - Music

As a long-time Internet user, I was mildly offended/vaguely amused by Kot's "Before Napster, downloading music on MP3 files was a relatively esoteric pursuit reserved for only the most dedicated music geeks.".  Ha! I've never considered myself to be a dedicated music anything but I confess to having a substantial MP3 collection long before Napster ever appeared.  So I suppose I'll wear the "geek" part... Tongue out  It IS true to say that Napster helped me find music I'd never listened to before, and I did buy quite a few CDs as a result of stuff I found on there, which was definitely one of the benefits of Napster at that time because up until then you either had to go into a shop, hope to find a friend to borrow a record from or listen to the radio for hours on end and hope you'd get to hear what you wanted to hear.  But at the same time, I downloaded a lot of music that I never ended up buying and I can see how that was a challenge to the record labels.  I do remember the Metallica-uproar, and all the anti-Metallica sentiment that was going around the file-sharing community at the time.  The funny thing was, I'd never listened to Metallica until then but I went and found a copy of something-or-other to check it out!

1.  Digital communication and distribution create both the benefits and the challenges for the music industry.  Digital enables perfect copies to be made quickly and easily, which allows digital distribution outlets such as ITunes to distribute music in a highly cost-effective manner with relatively little human input, and provides artists with a much wider distribution than they may previously have had by distributing record albums.  At the same time, this also allows users to distribute the same perfect copies illegally.

2.  Current laws were mostly created before digital distribution became a reality, and are woefully inadequate in today's world.  Most of them have no appreciation or allowance for what the Internet can do, and how people use the Internet to access music (and indeed other forms of digital media).  Virtually all are nation-based, while the internet allows users to traverse national borders, therefore rendering most laws obsolete.

3.  Radio is still the quickest and most cost effective way to distribute real-time news, sport and media.  Even though digital devices allow users to personalise their musical playlists and listen to podcasts later on, radio still allows local community and national interaction for live events.



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