March 23, 2004


The original Viracy post has slipped off the front page now (and with it my dreams of reaching the 50-comment mark), but I don't want the discussion to peter out yet.

Abe makes some points that need to be addressed, even though I'm not sure what the answers are. In response to my protest that, just because p2p/downloaidng is inevitable is no reason to celebrate it, Abe points out that 'the development needs to dealt with. one option is to rigidify and resist, attempt to turn back time. another is to roll with it, and attempt to construct a system that address the issues in a new manner.'

He goes on: 'I think we all can agree that musicians should be getting paid. But its an issue of how. And I personally think the old intellectual property system is broken on a number of levels. Culturally, technologically, in my mind philosophically... '

And then Abe raises the issue of how downloading is to be policed (if it all): 'I'm curious as to just how you expect to counteract file sharing. Teach the kids not to do it? Enact a DRM regime? Go with an EFF/ASCAP style mandatory licensing scheme? Its hard to get people to pay for things they can get for free you know.."

Some recent comments of new iPod enthusiastNick Gutterbreakz are also highly germane:

"Okay, so I've become an MP3 whore-thief. And de-objectifying my music collection feels pretty fucking good right now. I just reached the point recently where I suddenly realised that I don't want anymore CDs, vinyl etc. Sure, my appetite for new music remains undiminished, but having to own, store and maintain this collection of stuff is getting to be a bit of a drag. I already own more CDs than most other 'regular' people, and I'm damned if I'm gonna put up another fucking shelf when the current one fills up. The idea of non-corporal music storage sounds like just the ticket.
It's been fascinating to observe how iPod has been changing my listening habits. The ability to quickly scan through your collection by artist, album, composer or genre is truly liberating. Far more efficient than peering at endless CD spines, searching for inspiration. And the ability to quickly cue up 'playlists' is a revelation. It's like making yourself a new compilation tape every day. I know there's a lot of people out there, including some close friends, who find the whole concept horrifying. But try it first. Believe me, it's the future."

And a line to chill the heart of Matt Woebot: 'I can envision in maybe ten years time having almost no physical music collection at all, other than a few symbolic or sentimental items.'

I haven't got much to say at the moment, I've already confessed to being a digital conservative; I suspect many of my attitudes will appear reactionary, absurdly archaic, in a few years time. No doubt Abe's right; even if we wanted to prevent downloading, we couldn't. I know Matt and I are in a minority when it comes to questioning p2p and mp3 downloading, but ---- well, this new deobjectified world of music, it still makes me --- uneasy........

Posted by mark at March 23, 2004 11:21 PM | TrackBack

If you want I can change the settings so it stays on the front for a while longer. Just give a shout and its done.

Posted by: Abe at March 24, 2004 02:24 AM

i'm with you & M so that makes a minority of at least three

Posted by: simon r at March 24, 2004 02:41 AM

i'm heistant to make this kind of promise really but when i hand in my little book manuscript (exactly a week AARGH) i (think that i) intend to actually write up my mp3 line as a little piece for FT, in response to everything so far - am therefore rationing myself till then

it will perhaps be the first shot of me getting back in harness to finish my infamous BIG book, now !!!14 years!!! overdue AARGH AARGH AARGH

Posted by: mark s at March 24, 2004 08:41 AM

'I can envision in maybe ten years time having almost no physical music collection at all, other than a few symbolic or sentimental items.'

Yeah this is sad, but it may be inevitable. There will always be a demand for the objects, even if it is in some limited capacity, to satiate that part of the market that likes it.

But I stand by earlier comments I do think p2p and mp3 downloading where the artist isnt renumerated are BAD KARMA. And *lOOk* Simon agrees with us Mark!

Posted by: Matt Woebot at March 24, 2004 10:10 AM

= proof ur all wrong!

Posted by: mark s at March 24, 2004 04:06 PM

nah, no need to change the settings; in principle, it's a good thing if posts move off the front page once they're a week old. Thanks for the offer of help, as ever...

Simon, glad you're with us on this, you've been tight-lipped about the whole mp3 thing so far...

I know I'm quite reactionary in many ways; it took me years to accept the concept of CDs, for instance. (Although maybe in retrospect my doubts about CDs were justified....)

Dunno, all this P2Ping threatens to take the Events out of culture; instead of bands proucing honed LPs (OK, I know that this doesn't happen much now but bear with me) we'll get a diffuse flow of tracks. Everything will become cottage-industrialized, that's what I fear....

Posted by: mark k-punk at March 24, 2004 04:50 PM

Mark - may I ask what the little book and the big book are about?

Posted by: mark k-punk at March 24, 2004 11:03 PM

", this new deobjectified world of music, it still makes me --- uneasy........"

6 months ago I would have agreed with you, Mark. And yes, it took me some time to make the change from vinyl to CD too.

I'd been thinking about MP3 as a viable medium for mass music storage for some time, but needed a suitable carrier to modulate the message. iPod is that carrier.

"Everything will become cottage-industrialized, that's what I fear...."

In which case it'll simply take over from the limited 12" runs and mix tapes that sustained the hardcore underground for so long. Reynolds celebrated the cottage industry mentality that allowed jungle, 2-step, garage etc to develope and eventually spill into the mainstream. MP3 can only reinforce that and add to the flow of new ideas.

Your taking the view of the (adult) album-orientated consumer. Nothing wrong with that, so do I generally. We're over 30 afterall. But as previously, the industry WILL find a way to work within the new parameters. Give it 5 years and you'll be wondering why we ever bothered having this debate...

Posted by: Nick at March 25, 2004 11:29 AM

As for the cottage industry thing --- will there even BE a mainstream to 'spill into' if the mp3 revolution continues? Won't there just be an inchoate diffusion of 'releases'?

Posted by: mark k-punk at March 25, 2004 11:48 PM

Perhaps the opposite occurs, absent their cd sales cash cow the labels stop worrying about the music entirely and focus on manufacturing stars to sell to advertisers. Paris Hilton trailblazes as all pretenses are dropped from celebrity. You no longer need to sing and dance to get Pepsi millions, you just need to be able to get into the gossip columns... Meanwhile musicians get cut a touch out of the celebrity cash cow, although the attention whores will get up in there somehow.

As for albums, didn't they get killed with CD anyway? Sure there are couple strong ones, but really how many artists can produce one strong 60-70 minute sequence? Its a hell of a lot harder then creating a strong 20 minute LP side.

Posted by: Abe at March 30, 2004 08:12 PM