Wednesday, January 03, 2007

 

Forecasting Access Issues

Continuing on with my rant about the lack of physical music stores and the dwindling physicality of music . . . . My husband had the most mind-blowing thought while we were discussing this issue. Actually, he had a couple of them. When we purchase music in a physical format (records, tapes, CDs), if we get tired of an album, we can sell it or hand it off to a friend. We can't legally do this with digital music. Normally, the license for a download allows for the music file to sit on one computer and on a personal digital music player. There's no reselling of that digital file if we no longer want it. (Of course, the music industry is perfectly fine with this.)

Okay, second hubby thought: How are libraries going to allow people to check out music if it all goes digital? Think about that for a minute. Libraries have allowed all of us, the poor included, to have access to all sorts of cultural materials. If music goes completely digital, and it certainly looks like that's what's happening, only those who can afford a computer and an internet connection are going to get access. Unless something is restructured at the library (dedicated computer, maybe?), I can't see libraries allowing people to download songs onto public computers so they can download them to personal digital music players. Even if library technology was restructured to allow for this, the music industry would have a royal fit and put the legal kabosh on the whole thing.

If you are completely wrapped up in the digital world and can't possibly imagine that there are still people in the real world without a computer and an internet connection, let me tell you that my mom is one of those people. She is a die-hard Johnny Mathis fan and wanted no more than to stroll into Wal-Mart and find a Johnny Mathis disk. Nothing doing. This system isn't working for her.

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