Andrew Leonard explains his feelings towards digital music
Posted by Casper at July 2, 2004 11:06 AM
Ease of access enriches our lives. I am not just a happier consumer now; I am a better consumer, more discerning, more informed, more confident to pull the trigger on a purchase. I read a review of an album on the day it comes out, and before night has fallen, I own it -- something that rarely happened before. Previously, by the time I got to the record store, I had long forgotten the positive reviews I might have read. And listening to so much music feeds a virtuous cycle: The more I hear, the more I want to hear.
But the record industry still doesn't get it. A couple of nights ago, I searched iTunes for the song "Days Go By" by Dirty Vegas. I found it, but was annoyed to learn that it had been designated as "album only." In other words, I could not purchase the song for 99 cents -- I had to buy the whole album. So, naturally, I bought nothing at all. I don't like having my arm twisted. Again, I'm not a file-trader, but that kind of heavy-handed bait-and-switch treatment might very well encourage me to look for the song on Kazaa or to ask a friend to burn it for me. So now the studio, the artist, the song writer and the retail outlet are all out their percentage of my purchase.
This kind of behavior is a microcosm of everything that the industry has been doing wrong for years. I won't buy CDs that I can't rip to my hard drive. If legislation is passed that outlaws my CD burner and prevents me from making mixes for my friends, I'll return to my cloistered past, unaware and unengaged with all the music being created in the world. And if I'm exposed to less music, I'll buy less music.