Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Claiming Prima Nocta

Last week Delimiter told us Spotify has officially started recruiting in Australia. It (Delimeter) even went further to predict Spotify will make its music services available to Australians within 18 months.
My take on this bit of news: I demand Spotify grants me the right to be their first ever Australian Premium subscriber. I think I have the right to be the first to pay them for that service given the transformation their free service is making to my life. A service that, let me remind you, is only available to Australians if they’re tech savvy enough to use services such as VPN to acquire a European or American IP address.
Before going on to discuss that transformation yet again, I would like to note what the Premium service is. Essentially, it gives you the right to listen to uninterrupted music: no ads, no limitations on the amount of music you can listen to. You can even download playlists to your smartphone and listen to them without an Internet connection (hey, who needs iTunes?). Most importantly, at least for me: music is downloaded at a rate of 320kbps, which makes a whole lotta difference when connected to the hi-fi.
Spotify Premium currently costs Americans $10 USD a month and Brits 10 GBP a month. This substantial cost difference across nationalities leads me to fear someone high up in the recorded music industry’s food chain will decide Aussies would be willing to fork out $25 for the same pleasure. If you read this, Spotify, then please make sure you don’t make the mistake of alienating your customers before you even start! A lot of us, myself included, are not buying music from iTunes because of such regional price differences, differences where the Aussie is always on the losing side. Or is it due to the cost of freighting all that digital contents all the way Down Under?

On to the promised discussion on Spotify’s transformation qualities. I’ve discussed these at the past but I will do so again using last night’s experiences.
Those started with me listening to the soundtrack from Wim Wenders’ early nineties film, Until the End of the World. I hold this soundtrack in high regard as one of the best to ever decorate a movie, even if the movie was not my cup of water. It features some great atrists: Nick Cave, R.E.M. and Danial Lanois to name a few. It even features a U2 from those forgotten days where they actually had something to say, as opposed to the great money laundering machine they turned into. I used to have this soundtrack on cassette, but given what I did to my cassette collection I didn’t listen to it for probably a decade or so. Last night I did, though, positioning myself between my hifi speakers while assembling the latest robot toy we got our son (don’t ask). I’ve enjoyed both the joint assembly work with the four year old and the music in that certain way that only soul penetrating music can achieve. Thanks for a great experience, Spotify!

Shlomo Artzi is an Israeli singer I always tended to despise. At our recent trip to Israel we took a boat ride that had a song of his playing as background music. Amongst songs by the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and R.E. M. (them again!), Artzi’s song stood out when my wife pointed out everyone around us was humming along.
With that experience in mind I decided to give Artzi’s “best of” a try over Spotify. I can’t say he’ll be in my top ten, but listening to him certainly brought back memories. I’ll even admit he does have several good songs.

The point of the above musical tales is that through Spotify I was able to connect with the past in a manner that was otherwise impractical. Sure, I can buy these songs from iTunes, but do I want to commit some $40 odd dollars to a nostalgic affair? No, all I wanted was a brief reminder.
What I am trying to say is that music is of great importance to the shaping of our personalities. Through extrapolation I will argue that music is of great importance to the shaping of our culture. Currently, the preferred method for acquiring music is online; that is an undeniable fact. However, with the music industry actively blocking the Australian consumer from access to half decent online music services, what they are doing in effect is blocking cultural evolution.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Current copyright legislation is heavily bent against the interests of the vast majority of the public. We are the 99% plus suffering because of a tiny minority that decided to put us on a leash.

Image credits:
Until the End of the World soundtrack - Warner Bros. copyrights
Shlomo Artzi - TheCuriousGnome, Creative Commons license


wile.e.coyote said...

Lot of people that leave their old country tend to get nostalgic, in your case it took 10 years to make a singer that you and bear hate, to a singer that now only bear hate and you think got few good songs.
You really need some distance and time to make it happen
Other collogue of mine (that start from the KIBUTZ level) after relocating to Swiss for few years returned as a religious man back home, you might be next, who knows….

wile.e.coyote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moshe Reuveni said...

I see where you're coming from. I therefore suggest an experiment to help prove your theory: let's get the bear to live overseas (Australia?) for a decade, and see what she thinks of Artzi afterwards.
As for me, I cannot deny my recently found "affection" (for lack of a better word) to Artzi is mostly the result of nostalgia rather than the quality of his music. Tirkod, for example, was being played constantly by my brother (a gift from his girlfriend at the time) while we were playing games on the Atari.
As for becoming religious: I really don't know, Rabbi Wile. Maybe when Christopher Hitchens becomes a Chabadnik.

wile.e.coyote said...

As you know the DAFF will never approve your test, these small minded people prefer to guard your own bear population and keep them on their eucalypt than to let them fight with their polar brothers.
ofc they are politically current ppl and they can’t say they are anti-polar, instead they are making up a case that happen back in 95 about some sick polar with Trichinella spiralis

reference: Geering WA, Forman A J and Nunn M J (1995) Exotic Diseases of Animals a field guide for Australian veterinarians. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra

Uri said...

If only you’d put the same effort to your work, you could be the CEO by now, and you could fire Levana.

Moshe Reuveni said...

If only his effort took him in the right direction. One doesn't need scientific papers to know that polar bears are as closely related to koala "bears" as they are to kangaroos.

wile.e.coyote said...

I was examining the Koala from the phonetic view and it looks as a bear via that view
Phascolarctos, is derived from Greek phaskolos "pouch" and arktos "bear".
Same in Hebrew “DOV KOALA” come from the Hebrew DOV “bear” and KOALA “koala”

I prove it for 1, I prove it for n-1; therefore it is the single view of true

@Uri, work is for losers

Moshe Reuveni said...

Of course. And a ladybird beetle (Parat Moshe Rebenu) is a cow, really.

Moshe Reuveni said...

P.S. I do agree about work, though.