Own the Right: A Tale for ‘Die Hard’ Music Fans
With the news this Monday of Bruce Willis daring to challenge THAT big name music brand turning out to be nothing but fable yesterday evening, here at Entertainment Cocktail the gossip’s still got us buzzing with excitement; is it finally time for the return of the record shop? We sure do hope so.
Okay, so iTunes is not to be sued in a ‘die hard’ case of ownership, but that doesn’t change the fact the questions have been raised, globally. But should this thought-provoking bedtime story make online digital stores, such as Apple’s little music provider, worried?
For the last decade the cataclysmic fall in the creative and financial wealth of the music industry has been more than evident, not only with the sudden boom in illegal downloads but the more than apparent gaps in our physical market-place. What was once an industry saluting independence both in artistry and trade has now become, for the high street consumer, limited to the top 40 chart at HMV. Therefore, it only makes sense for those of us wanting to venture out in our music taste yet not venture the country in search of physical recordings to turn a blind eye towards the cyber-world of downloads. For those of you not in touch with the media this week, the story begins…
Once upon a time, Mr Willis apparently decided to raise issue with a big-name company over his vast digital music collection (rumoured to obtain hundreds and thousands of tracks…including much by Adele and Led Zep). Mr Willis was afraid that when he passed on in his later years, there would be no means as to leave his children such a prodigious music collection. Why was this you say? Well it so happens to be that when ‘purchasing’ a digital item, you do not buy to own. Instead, you pay for the licensed rights to listen to the music in certain formats, on specific devices (most prominently, the iPod/iTunes label). With a restricted sharing policy, Mr Willis could only leave his daughters his media devices and privilege them with the right to listen to his self-made playlists a supposed seven times before losing the licence completely. This made Mr Willis very mad, and he attempted to sue in terms of his ownership rights…
Of course, the story was nothing but that. A story. Yet it has raised questions that I doubt shall be forgotten soon.
Though (as a music-fanatic/student) digital music is a complete life-saver at most times, I will never fully accept downloads or MP3s into my life, and if I appreciate an artist, I still make the effort to purchase a ‘hard copy’ album. The digital realm has done both good and bad for independent music in particular, opening doors for new artists, yet seeing the success rate plummet in terms of finance. As for iTunes itself, I still possess the opposing thought that music IS for sharing, and that the music you have personally taken time to collect through such a medium is yours to own, moulded to you, to your life. A soundtrack. And who wants that taken away from them?
Does this refreshing perspective foretell of change? Raise an outcry for a physical-music revolution? Is it that long-awaited time for the true record-shop revival? The world seems too settled in to the digital era for now…but I have a sneaky suspicion the revolution is starting to stir.