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Posted Thu Oct 8th, 2009 5:22am Post subject: iTunes live podcast nailed it right on the head!

Had some time on the road and used the opportunity to catch up on the podgrams. Dear Stephen, I have to say that your speech that was recorded for the iTunes festival was spot on with reference to downloading be it legal or otherwise. I have to say that I am a case in point.

I have been downloading Dr Who.... In my defense I have to say that CBC here in Canada drove me to it. When they finally started showing it they started at Episode 4. And Episode 8 they only ever played half of! So I took to finding them on the net to the point that I would choose to download each episode soon after it played in Britain, not bothering to wait for CBC to play it 6 months later.

Now, just a few months ago all 4 series were released on iTunes ( including the specials that CBC never showed) and, for a very reasonable price. So I did exactly as you said, I downloaded them legally. Ironically, they are sitting on my AppleTV as yet unwatched. But the snow is starting to fly so the opportunity beckons.

So, if you give me the opportunity to buy it easily and for a reasonable price I will do so. I even prefer to do so as it is quite a bother to search, find, download and convert the "non legal" way. If not, then I will find it another way.

To complete the irony, my father in law is about to have a hip replacement and we thought your US program would be something he would enjoy watching while recuperating. Well it seems I can't find it on the iTunes Canada.

So if the various companies involved would stop wasting their resources on preventing non legal downloading and instead concentrate on making it easier to purchase I would not be "forced" to deprive you.....

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Posted Thu Oct 22nd, 2009 1:50pm Post subject: iTunes live podcast nailed it right on the head!

This is a repeat of a post I made on the BBC blog, but wanted to share here too, being the self-regarding pompous toolbag that I am.

Stephen's right, in essentials, about everything he says in the lecture, but I can understand the "pulling his ladder up" comments from some commentators. Like Radiohead, it's easy for him to advocate a looser model of free downloading when his own fortune was made, in spades, under a closed, non-digital system in the eighties and nineties. Radiohead were already millionaires several times over when they released "In Rainbows" on the famous "pay your conscience" model. Their money was made mostly as a result of "OK Computer", a twelve-year-old conventionally-released record which continues to sell by the hodload, enriching everyone involved in it. They can afford to play the philanthropists now.

That doesn't really take away from the validity of Stephen's (or Ed O'Brien from Radiohead's) arguments, though. The game has changed, and people still aren't getting it. The creative industries have been incredibly slow to see that content is not where money is to be made in the digital age. Trying to protect revenue from pure content-flogging is a hiding to nothing. If an artist wants to provide their services full-time to the public, they need to understand that the days of Led Zeppelin becoming multi-millionaires from record sales are long gone. Good thing too. The revenue, in music at least, is all going to be in live performance and merchandising.

I'm fully supportive of artists' intellectual rights over their creative output, but it's unrealistic to expect an ongoing stream of revenue to flow from that intellectual property. With the way the world works nowadays, that can't be made to happen: full-time musicians have to just get on their bikes and look for gigs (as I imagine Norman Tebbit would blanch at saying).

The thing is, digital music allows those of us who have a day job to do what we love and give it away for nothing, safe in the knowledge that we don't HAVE to be full time rock stars. I'm a teacher; I love my job; I have no desire to spend a zillion days a year on the road behind my record. On the other hand, I want to make music and release it.

Digital means I am able to make and release my music for almost no money - I record on a MacBook and mix and master everything at home. This costs me next to nothing, especially compared to the old system (signing to a record label, taking a vast advance to pay for studio time, then spending the next however-many years paying the advance back). The method of production and distribution is now near-as-dammit free, and in the hands of the artists, so we don't NEED to make money off it. I can build up my audience using the internet and word of mouth from gigs. There's no reason why any creative person can't do the same - we don't need to be Carole King: writing songs 9-5 in a hired office. We also don't need to be The Rolling Stones: fabulous wealthy, entirely subsumed by our "industry", touring for 30 years and creatively moribund.

Many people still entertain the fantasy that being a musician is going to make you rich. It's less true today than ever, but that's OK, because we're free, in every sense.

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