Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Digital choice, the myth

In my quest for a less hardcopy world, i have made some firm resolutions: 

1. my entire music collection will be digital, selling what cds I can get money for through, donating the majority of what-are-now worth $.01 to thrift stores. 

2. I am also attempting to wrap my head around not owning movies/tv, but "renting" them - preferably free. (I'm still working on what to do with books, so don't expect that discussion here).

One thing, however, hasn't changed - I am a voracious music and film collector. Should I just fashion playlists on Spotify and listen to their music instead of mine - possibly. Is Google Play a good place to find obscure-ish music (that was the eMusic promise, if I recall, that fell flat for me real fast)? But at least I have two stellar options for purchasing music: iTunes and Amazon. But, really? I am convinced that they both share pretty much the same music library. 99% of the time, music I can't find on iTunes can't be found on Amazon either. I have to realize they are merely the distributor and can't sell what is not available, or…what is no longer available.

This part really sucks: Both music distributors boast how large their music collections are getting, but neither let us know when music disappears from their ranks (as they are selling us "copies", it's not like a book that sells out). I found this out recently when I went to iTunes to search for the latest Sleepthief single, only to discover their entire catalog was no longer on iTunes.

The resolution here is to go directly to each artist and buy direct. Sleepthief's website has his music for sale; all I need to do is create yet another digital account (on Paypal) to handle this sort of transaction. This may be the wave of the future - cutting out the distributor entirely, leaving convenience in the dust.

I found the exact same experience trying to stream free video. Shunning Hulu's increasingly sad offering of non-premium shows aside, I have a lengthy Netflix streaming list. Sure, they give you a slight heads up that some movies will be "expiring" soon, but if you're in the middle of a 8 year TV show run, you're going to be pissed. I just signed up for Amazon's "Prime" deal in order to get some free streaming - and the inevitable happened: the only "free" offerings were the exact same movies I can stream for free on Netflix.

Digital choice is a sad illusion and I am its willing slave.

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