Music Piracy: What is the big deal?

To be honest, I’m not that big a fan of music. I don’t dislike music; it is just that it has never been a big deal to me. If tomorrow people stopped creating music, it wouldn’t bother me, there is already more than enough in the world as it is, why do we even need any more?

It is perhaps this bias that has had me wondering why music piracy should be such a big deal. Music labels argue that they have lost so much money because of how easy it is to illegally distribute music via the internet. I don’t question for a second the ease internet makes music distribution, what I do question is why music companies are relying on revenue through the sale of music in the first place.

Music should be free. The notion of a user paying for an individual song that they can own and play just seems ridiculous to me. Music singles should be considered advertising. They are promoting the band, increasing interest in the product. The product however is NOT the individual song.

I’m not going to pretend to understand the intricacies of the music industry from a business point of view, but it seems clear to me that you can’t sustain a business if you’re relying on selling something that is easy to obtain for nothing.

Surely bands make more money when they tour; assuming of course they have a decent fan base. Artists can make money through licensing revenue such as when their music is featured on television, video games or other media that is more easily sold and can generate its own revenue. An argument to this is; what about the small bands starting out? My answer to that is simple; we don’t need that many of them in first place. It’s perhaps time that less people even try to eke a living as musicians.

The market should only exist for the truly good acts, ones that are able to sustain profitability through the above sources. If, at the end of the day we lost 70% of the commercial musical artists tomorrow, I would say good riddance. The fringe acts can’t make much of a living anyway, and those that do probably make their money from performing, and you know what? They can still do that.

It seems to me the problem is more that the music industry is used to having a fat cash cow with music sales, but the simple fact is, the cow is dead, it’s time to change. It’s not a question of whether or not they should change, because that ship has sailed – the music business landscape has changed and will never be the same again. I can get music for free (if I cared to), so stop charging me for it.

Invictus

Clint Eastwood sets a very high standard with his movies, Gran Torino was arguably my favourite movie of 2009 (at the very least my favourite 2D movie…) Invictus seems like a strange movie to me; not being South African, and not much of a rugby fan, I had no idea that the winning of the Rugby World Cup in 1995 was that big a deal for South Africa. What’s even more strange for me is that after seeing this film, I still wasn’t convinced.

I’m not actually arguing whether or not it was an important moment for South Africa, but what I am suggesting is that whatever is that Invictus was trying to convey, I wasn’t feeling it.

It’s hard for me to put my finger on what this movie actually was, it’s not a rugby movie, despite the setting. The movie does make it clear that it really isn’t about the sport itself, but what it represents, and the movie, perhaps deliberately does little to use the matches themselves to convey any drama at all. I wasn’t sure if that was a deliberate effort to not focus on the rugby itself, or simply the result of a director who likely wasn’t all that familiar with the intricacies of the sport.

Nelson Mandela is a great man, who has endured a lot and achieved so much – but I never really credited “winning a rugby world cup” as one of his achievements.

Rather than being a movie about a nation overcoming a dark history of division among its people by uniting together through a game of rugby, it comes across more like a powerful leader’s misguided obsession with a sport he knows little about rather than focussing on the day to day running of his country.

I’m pretty sure that’s not what Eastwood was going for. Morgan Freeman plays Nelson Mandela with the kind of reverence that would have you believe that he was the second coming of Christ (or a reincarnation of Buddha), in a performance that kind of says “give me an award because I’m playing Mandela and he’s a legend, right?” Matt Damon plays Francois Pienaar as a quiet, humble man, so much so that it contributes to the legendary aura of Mandela this movie tries to convey.

Eastwood would have you believe, the Springboks didn’t win the World Cup, Nelson Mandela did.

The intentions of this movie seem honourable enough, but the movie just doesn’t work.

And of course, there is no mention of any “food poisoning” of the All Blacks in the grand final, but then, who really believes that happened anyway?

Three stars.

Resistance: Fall of Man

Made in 2006 this is a pretty old game that holds up rather well, but still shows its age. It’s a pre-Modern Warfare first person shooter, so it lacks the “auto lock” style zoom feature that has become prevelant these days and uses the traditional “shooting from the hip” Halo style of combat.

That in and of itself is by no means a bad thing. I couldn’t help but feel that if I’d played this game earlier I would’ve had a greater appreciation of it, but I suppose the passage of time and the prevalence of other superior games in recent times makes Resistance look a little sub-standard.

Don’t get me wrong it is a good game, just a bit dated. The variety in game play is lacking though and could’ve benefited from some more innovations in its game play. There was a time when this game would’ve been very well regarded, but that time is not now.

Three stars