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How Triple J Sold Me A Spotify

17 December 201403:35AMrants

So I was driving home yesterday, and I put Triple J on. Normally I wouldn't - I've got one of those tape thingies that turns your tape player into a line in - but I figured the occasional punctuation of updates on what was happening in Sydney couldn't hurt.

I forget the presenter, and the program, and the time, otherwise I'd plug them - but someone at some point played this by some guys I've never heard of called sleepmakeswaves and - I don't know, for some reason it just grabbed me.

I don't generally write or talk about music much because historically my taste has been a little bit embarrassing, but I'm going to make an exception for this because I think it's really cool. It probably has some label like 'new' or 'alt' that will make me sound like a wanker if I try to talk about it (Google confirms: 'post-rock'.) But I like it. More than that, it feels like someone reached into my brain and found all the things I like in music and smashed them together.

So at this point I'm faced with a choice. I can wait until I get home in several hours time after rock climbing, text my brother to find out where The Pirate Bay is hiding, and muck around for half an hour trying to remember how to get my computer to talk to my phone.

Option two is to click the very convenient button next to the tag on my phone screen, taking me to Xbox Music to buy the album for $12.

Here is where it gets interesting. Because option three also costs $12. Option three is to take advantage of the Spotify Decemberween special, and get myself three months of premium, and then stream the album.

As is probably obvious by the title, option three is the one I took. I've taken two in the past (an instance of needing the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack right now comes to mind), but I have this data plan I'm not using, and... well, it's something I've never tried before. Never underestimate the power of novelty.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to get at - yes, there is a point - is one that's been made many times before. Heck, I think I've heard it before, but never understood what it meant until now. The point is this: Piracy is not the entertainment industry's enemy, in the legal sense. It's an economic competitor. They are competing not just on monetary cost, but on time cost. Most people have no ideological allegiance to piracy, and the instant that paying for content becomes a good enough value proposition on the time/money/effort scale, people will do it. Well, I'll do it, apparently. I'm just extrapolating to people in general, but I think the success of services like Spotify and Netflix and stuff is proof that that extrapolation holds some merit.

So here's a postscript for you: Does the entertainment industry realise this? Are they the lumbering, decrepit relics the internet likes to make them out to be? Or have they discovered that throwing their legal weight around, shutting down websites, sending cease and desist letters, and throwing lawsuits at my ISP, is a means to tilt that value proposition in their favour, rather than an end in itself? That they can use the justice system as a tool to generate profit instead of a way to settle grievances? I suspect they probably have, which to me is even scarier.


Anyway, go listen to Love of Cartography. It's rad, and you will enjoy it.

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