Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hold onto your music

It's been in the news lately that MySpace now plans to start selling music to rival other online competitors like iTunes and Napster. I'm wondering when people are going to get sick of not having something to hold onto for their dollar.

Sure iTunes offers a digital booklet for people who purchase entire albums but what kind of consolation is this, if your computer crashes and you lose it all? The average iTunes album is around $9.99 and the average song is about 99 cents. For an extra four or five dollars at a music store like the Record Collector you not only get the rights to that CD for a lifetime but you're also supporting local business which in an era of consumer flytraps like Best Buy and Sam Goody is an invaluable contribution. Music, being a medium unique to the ears (unless at a performance), has the advantage of being able to hold many different forms whether on a CD or MP3 player. 

The visceral response to music is much the same whether on either of these two formats, but the same does not hold true for art forms of a primarily visual format. The six dollar Van Gogh posters at the IMU do not incite the sort of response one would have, if the painting were viewed in the Louvre, though they are an excellent way to get acquainted with art. Digital music, on one hand is easy to produce and allows the music industry to not only enact greater privacy controls but also increase profits by not having to manufacture thousands of CDs. With the emergence of these new music outlets consumers are going to have to be careful where and how they manage their digital music world.  

John LaRue
DI columnist

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