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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Music, whine and cheese

3 September 2018

Would the music industry like a little cheese with their whine?

For decades now, the music industry has cried foul over the rise of digital media and the ease with which it can be duplicated and distributed using things like CD burners or the internet.

Every year they bitch and moan about their "losses" which are calculated using some magic formula which is liberally sprinkled with pixie-dust and contains an unfathomable number of BS factors which bear little resemblance to the real world.

But then iTunes, Spotify and a host of other streaming music services came along and the music industry seemed happy. In fact they should be overjoyed because now, people aren't actually buying music for a one-time fee that they can keep on a shelf in the living room -- they're actually having to pay a monthly subscription... forever!

You'd think they'd be chuffed to bits about this, right?

Well apparently not.

According to this report from the UK's Independent, the industry is rallying against the fact that some people are downloading legally posted videos on YouTube and extracting the MP3 audio from them.

Oh, My, Gawd!

Right now they're going after the multitude of websites that offer to download either the entire YouTube video or just the audio for you whenever you enter the URL of the content you want.

I guess these people are the kids or grandkids of the crusty old curmudgeons that bitched long and loud when the cassette recorder was launched onto the market by Philips back in the 1960s. "These machines will kill the music industry and are costing jobs" was the cry back then.

Hmmm... I wonder how many billions on billions of dollars the music industry has made since then?

Ah... but then, in the late 1980s and 1990s the CD came along... and the interweb!

The same old "whine and jeez" crowd (or maybe their kids) again began wailing and gnashing their teeth with cries that "this will kill the industry and destroy jobs".

And again, we all know of the immense fortunes made by this industry between those whiney complaints and today.

Now, yet again, we're being told that the industry is under threat and that the sky is falling... because yet again, technology threatens the profits of those who never seem satisfied. Why put up with making a large fortune when a *huge* one would be better?

I love this quote from the Independent article:

"the “fantastic range” of legal streaming services, such as Spotify and Apple Music, could be under threat if the issue of stream ripping sites is not properly dealt with"

What a load of cobblers!

My wife spends half her life listening to music on Spotify, as do many other people I know.

Not one of those "regular folk" would bother ripping an .mp3 version of their favourite tunes from a YouTube video. Why would they? It's just not worth the time and effort when you've got almost the entire collection of music ever published at the swipe of a finger for just a few bucks a month.

Sure, there are bound to be some people who'll rip the audio from their favourite music vids... but they're probably already subscribed to a music service or are the kind of folk who would *never* subscribe to one. Either way, the music industry isn't missing out on a single red cent as a result of that ripping.

I've come to the realisation that the music industry aren't music publishers... they are a bunch of professional whiners whose job it is to bitch, moan, complain and gripe about anything they can. Their greed also beggars belief. Whereas most people and companies are happy to make a healthy profit, the music industry is never, ever satisfied -- and will never be satisfied, so long as there's someone left to sue or some new way to try and squeeze the consumer.

Gosh, let's hope these people never find out about VLC or they'll seek to have that banned as well.

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