It would seem that the ongoing hotbed of controversy that's centered around the music industry is not going to disappear anytime soon. Music labels don't want people to be able to enjoy music unless it's in a way they make a lot of money. The RIAA wants to keep the music industry in the dark ages so that they are still relevant. Recording artists want to service their fans and make a living by getting paid for their work. Microsoft wants to completely control the digitial music industry and have no competition whatsoever for their WMA format (no more of that MP3 and Apple ACC nonsense!). Everybody is fighting each other and it's really sad because the actual music is becoming secondary to the battle.
Apparently there is no middle ground here and that sucks because all we music fans want is to be able to listen to the music we love in a way that's convenient for us.
Scrobbler: I finally got around to setting up an account on AudioScrobbler. Problem is that I listen to very different music on my iPod than at work (which is where my account is watching). Something tells me that blasting Nine Inch Nails from my office would not be appreciated by my co-workers, so I stick to mostly 80's Synth-Pop. If you want to see what embarrassing tunes are currently keeping me company, here's a link to my AudioScrobbler list.
Artist: A brilliant take on digital music downloads was just posted at ScottAndrew.com. Scott rightly points out that if musical artists concentrated on keeping their fans happy (rather than focusing all their energy on stopping theft of their music) that the fans will in-turn will support the artist. For me at least, this is a completely true statement. On my iPod there is exactly one song out of 4200 that I don't own... Tarzan Boy by Baltimora. I would gladly purchase the song if I could, but the CD is long out of print and all my efforts to buy a reasonably-priced copy have met with failure. I was left with no choice but to find a copy online and "steal" it. If music companies would get off their asses and put their entire catalogs on the iTunes Music Store, there would be no reason for me to steal. I support the artists I like because I want them to keep making music. It's inconceivable to me that a group I love would come out with new CD and I would steal from them. I would hope that I'm not unique that way, and I don't think I am considering that Britney Spears just bought a new seven million dollar honeymoon home.
Ballmer: Everybody's favorite dancing monkey-boy, Steve Ballmer, decided to take the typical approach of trashing competing products because Microsoft can't come up with something better. This lovely Ballmer quote was offered up to the London press yesterday: "We’ve had Digital Rights Management in Windows for years. The most common format of music on an (Apple) iPod is 'stolen'." Given the ludicrous nature of this statement (uhhh... Microsoft Media players don't have stolen music on them?) I have to ask the question: "are executives at Microsoft exempt from drug testing?" And, if "Apple is doing such a crappy job of advancing the legal purchase of digital music, then why is Microsoft trying their best to clone the iTunes Music Store with their shitty MSN Music Store?" For the sake of MS shareholders, Ballmer should just shut up entirely since he seems incapable of making anything but dumbass comments. Of course, he wouldn't have to talk trash if Microsoft would ever come out with something good enough to speak for itself, so maybe this kind of distraction is essential to the company's success?
Time for me to wrap things up... it's New Music Tuesdays at the iTunes Music Store, and it looks like there's new R.E.M. and Fatboy Slim to go buy!