If The Bastards Ever Let Us (Revisited)

The predecessor to this blog was one I operated for about a year, CelestialJukebox.org, where I wrote mostly about the steady drift toward cloud-based music services like Lala.com. The tag line for that site was “whatever you want to hear, whenever you want to hear it, wherever you are — if the bastards ever let us. The bastards in this case being all the various rights holders who are determined to protect their analog turf for as long as possible in the digital world.

Lately I have been finding a lot to like about the new streaming music subscription service Rdio.com – but frankly, I’m still waiting to see what Apple can come up with after acquiring Lala.com earlier this year — and shutting it down at the end of May. The Inter-webs have been rife with rumors for months that the launch of “iTunes in the Cloud” is imminent, even to the point of expecting some kind of announcement when the new iPhone was announced at the WWDC last month. That didn’t happen, and I think we’re starting to find out why.

Imagine my consternation when I read this report at AppleInsider.com that dispels any hope that the iTunes cloud service is imminent, because, apparently, the bastards are still being… well, bastards:

….”sources say the company approached the labels earlier this year about a cloud-based ‘locker’ service, where users could streams songs they owned to multiple devices. But that went nowhere quickly — ‘a swing and a miss,’ in the words of an industry insider — because the labels argued that streaming a single purchase to multiple devices constituted multiple uses, which meant they should receive more for the songs they sell through iTunes.”

So, let me see if I’ve got this straight. I bought the vinyl, I bought the CD, I bought the download, now the fuckers want me to pay to just listen to the download because I would like to store it someplace beside my own hard drive – so that I can listen to it whenever/wherever I want.

Of course, the idiots are too dense to see the contradiction in their own position. If it is payment for “use” that they want, then, rather than standing in the way of anything that suggests a subscription service, they should be doing all in their power to encourage such a service. Because that way, they would be entitled to a portion of my revenue each time I listen to one of their tracks, apportioned according to how much I actually listen to over given period. Granted, we’re going to be talking pennies here – or fractions of pennies – but that’s the business they’re in now.

No, apparently what the “industry” wants is that we all pay a buck every time we obtain access to a track. Even when that track is just going to sit on a hard drive or a server somewhere, unused 99.99% of the time, they want us to pay a dollar for the privilege of listening to that track that other .01% of the time.

So I guess it’s just a good thing that the boys at Rdio.com have found a way to make a lot of music available for $10/mo. It’s not the complete realization of the dream — they’ve yet to sweep up most of the “indie” stuff that I usually listen to — but it will do for a while while we wait for another generation of these idiots to die off.