emusic – sold out

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Another one bites the dust. What I’m talking about is the selling out of the only online music store where you could get relatively cheap legal music downloads from independent labels. In July emusic is locking out a good portion of the global community from buying a subscription and one can only assume that it came about because they bowed down before their overlord – the Sony BMG media cartel. Apart from now charging extra for less, the new deal is that unless you live in the right country you won’t be able to buy from emusic , although existing customers will be grandfathered onto the the new higher cost plans. Unless you live in the US, Canada or the EU you won’t be able to join this exclusive club to get music that no one else is selling.

On the one hand there is a big push against piracy which is all well and good for media cartels like Sony, but locking out half the world of potential customers could prove costly to independent labels. While they may gain some new customers from the US, Canada and Europe by having the added bonus of Sony’s catalogue amongst the mix, which by the way is restricted to songs older than 2 years, they have essentially lost customers from Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Asia, India, South America and China who now have no recourse to legally buy from independent labels. Without a legal alternative places like Bit torrent, Usenet, Rapidshare, Megaupload et al will be the first and only point of call. Of course these markets probably have a fraction of the sales and perhaps in some places no sales compared to the large consumer base in the northern hemisphere, but these countries now won’t even be given the chance to pay independent labels. There just isn’t anywhere to purchase the music from.

I can hazard a guess as to why these restrictions are in place. The media cartel has its fingers in the pie all over the globe, with exclusive deals with major corporations, so contractually restrictions need to be placed. Either that or they are just maximising profits by price gouging certain markets. So now emusic has got a new consumer base at the expense of music lovers who want to do the right thing by artists. Hopefully the independent labels will still be able to compete with the new paradigm shift emusic has developed. They possibly face losing customers who aren’t too happy being ripped off by subsidising a deal made with Sony. I for one will probably cancel my subscription purely out of protest to this amalgamation with corporate media. What attracted me to emusic in the first place was that it supported the independent labels and lesser known artists. I could support them by legally buying their music but I certainly don’t want anything to do with Sony, not only because I’ll be restricted from buying anything Sony but because Sony want to be arseholes and lock me out of their cosy deal. So I’ll invariably vote with my wallet and cancel my subscription with emusic once it’s up for renewal. Come January my options will be somewhat limited and more than likely UseNet will get a bigger work out than it presently does.

Category : Rants | Blog

Audio Slave

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Well the year is winding down and it really can’t come soon enough. I think I’ve tried to articulate my distaste for being enslaved to corporate machinery and the symbiotic relationship it has with consumerist ideology in previous posts and even though I have no way of escaping the nine to five treadmill any time soon lest the recession/depression takes care of that for me or if I even have the inclination to do so , I can nevertheless appreciate the brief reprieve of annual leave that is days away now, 10 days and counting, which will give the illusion of freedom. However brief it is, I will try my utmost to embrace each day as a celebration of emancipation that annual leave is akin to.

The television is off now and it has been to more or lesser extents recently, the only programs that I’ve been watching have ended for the year, so I see no reason to turn it on, to only have crap infiltrating the background with unappealing noise. As a result of poor Australian FTA viewing I have been enjoying my new found past time which has been an old favourite that has reinvigorated itself with technology and the advent of legal MP3 downloads. My interest in music has readily replaced the television as the primary mode of entertainment and there really isn’t much to miss having the television off, not that I’ve been watching a great deal of it since I moved back in March because the only channels that I pay any attention to are SBS and ABC and reception is poor or non existent here so the decision was essentially made for me, SBS is removed from sight and I have to contend with crappy analogue for ABC so switching off the TV is easily accomplished. However music it is proving to be an expensive venture, my new obsession with Hi-Fi is finding ways for me to spend and although I can’t claim to be an Audiophile I do like technology and have some dollars burning a hole in my pocket so why not do my bit for staving off the recession and spend big – well big for my bogan ways.

I received a Zhaolu D2.5 DAC last weekend and have it plugged into my PC emitting tunes form my hard drive into my Logitech speakers which I hope to replace very soon with proper bookshelf’s when my T-amp arrives hopefully this weekend .

Pop Pulse T70i

Pop Pulse T70i

Zhaolu D2.5

Zhaolu D2.5

I bought these from Coem Audio Australia http://www.coemaudio.com.au and the DAC arrived painlessly so went for an AMP to power the speakers that I have yet to choose, which has been keeping me awake at night trying to madly research which ones are worthy beasts to grind and ache to the abysmal sounds of Doom Metal powered by this combo of audio pleasure.

Well back to the search. 🙂

Category : Sight and Sound | Blog

ISP = Internet Sharing Police

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War on music piracy – the heading on SMH glares at defiant downloaders as they scoff at the pipe dream of the MAFIAA. I first saw that acronym, MAFIAA on Whirlpool and I laughed at the similarity to mafia, which is probably not a chance occurrence. Initially I thought the poster who kept throwing this acronym around was taking the piss but then I Googled it and low and behold…Music And Film Industry Association of America™ or mafia…oops MAFIAA. Anyway the gist of this war is that ISP’s may be required to implement a three strikes and you’re out policy if the Rudd Government legislates a sort of Internet Sharing Police based upon a British model that according the SMH article is in the process of being implemented.

Fair enough downloading copyrighted material is bad and illegal and all that but getting Internet Service Providers to police the immorality of its users is going a little too far. First the Government is scheming to have our Internet content filtered and now it has its sights on further transforming ISP’s into the thought police. What next? Newspeak? The whole idea is admirable and noble but has prohibition ever been effective in curbing the flow of illegality? If BitTorrent is tapped and sharers are forced underground to possible encrypted networks, then what? Do ISP’s then data mine and infiltrate the hidden tunnels exposing some teenager to the great evil that s/he is committing. Although there is possibly no fool proof anonymous tunnel at the moment, it’s not to say some geek won’t try and create one, a constant cat and mouse game that will only spiral the cost of telecommunications higher than they already are.

What happens if a truly encrypted network is created, that is anonymous, will it not then be virtually impossible to tap by ISP’s? Will the Governement call upon the equivalent of cyber martial law? The sad part is, if such a network is created then all sorts of immorality will flow into it, music sharing will be the least of its worries.

Perhaps the greatest thing of concern here is not the infringement of intellectual property but how it opens the door to a loss of intellectual freedom. Having the Government intrude upon our thoughts, wishing to control what we hear and see is beginning to resemble the rise of a totalitarian state under the guise of intellectual property management and child safety. It’s of little surprise that the Government and legislative assembly is found bending their knees before the people that control public opinion, the media. A smaller surprise that it has found a way to impose a level of information control with an ISP filter while appealing to the fears of unwary parents. I’m probably being a little paranoid but the internet represents the final frontier of freedom and with the flagrant lies and misinformation that our leaders have feed us in recent years, it may be our only recourse to what is true and the gradual reigning in of this freedom is somewhat alarming.

Category : Rants | Blog