It’s not quite the three strikes that got people worried back in February, but the online crackdown against music pirates continues. Following Virgin’s warning letters, five more ISPs have signed up to a similar deal: BT, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB, and Carphone Warehouse.
With pirates having fewer places to turn Virgin will undoubtedly be breathing a sigh of relief, however, everyone else (with the exception of the music industry) will continue to complain. The biggest complaint, at least in today’s newspapers, is parents suffering for their children’s misdemeanors (The Times), although I would personally spin it as ‘parents having to take responsibility for their children’. Suddenly it doesn’t seem quite so unreasonable.
Whilst the warning letters don’t bother me (I don’t illegally download music), they do seem to have some effect. The realisation that their illegal behaviour can identified and recorded seems to be enough for many people. Just the other day a fellow Virgin customer was complaining to me that they were going to have to change their music sharing habits: Obviously I was my usual sympathetic self .
The alternative to buying each song individually seems to be the proposed internet music ‘tax’ (in the words of the irrational Daily Mail), or ‘licence fee’ (in the words of the right-wing Daily Telegraph which whilst hating licences loves big business more). The proposed £30 a year doesn’t seem to excessive for a married couple with 2.4 kids, but there are some obvious concerns, such as will the licence stifle innovation as the music industry sits on its laurels, and will people still be able to buy just the odd song or album when the whole music industry is turned on its head. Apple’s iTunes would be set to lose 90% of their UK business over night; but do we really need such a business taking a cut in this day and age?
I think the letters are a step in the right direction, they are forcing a solution to be found to what is obviously a problem. If you don’t want to pay for the music then don’t buy it, but you can’t expect to have your cake and eat it too.
I awoke this morning to be greeted with the cheery message that I had got 5 free song downloads from the T-mobile Mobile Jukebox. Unfortunately my girlfriend, who has the same phone and T-mobile contract, was not greeted with the same message. For some reason I got the distinct feeling that she felt that I was to blame for such favouritism. Thank you T-mobile.
It’s the first time that I have used the T-mobile Jukebox, but I can understand why people do. It’s so quick and simple you find yourself tempted to buy songs that you already have on CD just so you don’t have to go through all the hassle of uploading them to your computer before putting them on your phone. Unfortunately it failed to fill in all the song details correctly on my N95, so they are currently listed as artist and album unknown.
The big limitation I found was that my N95 didn’t seem to want to let me set any of the songs as a ringtone, which was a bit of a shame as I had always wanted Amy Winehouse’s Rehab as my ringtone. That the songs are only valid to be played 2 billion times on the phone seems less of a problem.
Have T-mobile persuaded me that I should be downloading all my music to my phone? Personally I will be waiting for Nokia’s “comes with music” package rather than paying for individual songs.
Whilst I am personally looking forward to Nokia’s “Comes with Music” (although I’m not sure why as I never listen to that much music), not everyone is so happy. They seem to be having a right old whinge over at Engadget:
-Obviously ‘free to user’ is not the same as free, otherwise the record labels wouldn’t make any money, but the $5 “monthly tithe” on all handsets will be barely noticeable to the average end user.
-Of course the stuff will be “slathered in DRM”, what do you expect for $5?? Unlike the majority of bloggers I have no problem with DRM, as long as the limitations are CLEARLY STATED before purchase.
Over the last couple of day’s Nokia have gone a bit music mad. Yesterday saw the release of Nokia’s Internet Radio application, whilst today sees news of a “comes with music” program that enables people to buy a Nokia device with a year of unlimited access to millions of tracks (currently Universal music group but talks ongoing with other labels). Whilst the iPhone has been grabbing the headlines as (supposedly) THE multimedia device of the year, these moves make it clear that Nokia isn’t going down without a fight.
Whilst I am personally thrilled by the simplicity in now getting internet radio on the move (and very grateful for getting an unlimited data package), and wouldn’t be adverse to the prospect of unlimited access to songs of my choice, I must admit to being slightly apprehensive about the increased use in public places by those with little thought to others. Already the public arena seems to be filled with people playing their music for everyone to hear, and if people have more they can listen to, it seems logical that they will play more.
What I would really like to see rolled out with these music packages is the rolling out of a campaign to get people to be more thoughtful of others when playing their music/mobile tvs.