Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Renting Music

So, of course, downloading music has been a hot topic for years now....ever since my first year of college when Napster came out and everyone started downloading illegally. Then all hell broke loose and the RIAA started complaining about artists losing money and the feds started arresting little kids.

So now, we live in a world transformed by iPods and iTunes. (Which actually has supplanted Media Player on my computer as my primary media player app....not bad for a dedicated Microsoftie like myself.) But this last week Yahoo! introduced its Music Unlimited program where you can download as much music as you want* (note asterisk) for only $4.99 a month if you pre-pay for a year ($59.88). Anyway, this unlimited* (again, note asterisk) download is actually a over-glorified rental service where you can download any of these songs to your computer or portable device for a period of time. If you actually want to own the song, you have to pay $0.79/song to buy it. Still better than $0.99/song that iTunes charges, but only if you actually enjoy renting songs.

I'm posting about this because I just can't understand the fascination with renting songs like this. I don't have a problem with paying for songs as long as I can own them...but i don't get the renting thing.

Music isnt like movies where you only want to watch it once because you know what happens in the end or you're sick of laughing at the same punchlines. Music is emotional and instills a feeling in you each time you hear a song. I dont know how many times I have found a song in my library that i havent listened to in years like The Verve Pipe's The Freshmen or Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight and immediately been transported back to the first time I heard the song or some memorable experience while the song was on. Without having that song in my collection, I would never hear those songs on Internet Radio, much less traditional FM Radio.

Maybe it's because with today's music we are overrun with drippy teeny-bopper lyrics that actually contain no substance, so there is no need to listen to the song again after the initial period of infatuation with a hypnotic drum beat and unintelligible moaning (compare Britney Spears with Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, and Coldplay).

So, what do you think? Will renting music catch on? Can someone explain to me how it actually works/expires after a given time? Would you rent music like this?



At 5/17/2005 02:26:00 PM, Blogger causedawg said...

I totally agree, J-Rock. Why rent a song when you know your just going to miss it when its gone? The only reason I can think of, other than what you mentioned about the intellectual shallowness of musical "artists" these days, is the inevitable excessive playing of a song on the radio that causes many listeners to grow tired of hearing a song within days to months. People have gotten used to listening to top 20 hit songs so often, that songs that are no longer popular (overplayed) are immediately forgotten.
Thanks for great stations, like the Edge out of Dallas, for continuing to integrate hit songs from the 90's in with current rock hits.

Info on Coldplay's new song, "Speed of Sound" can be found at my blog, Causedawg's Blogs


At 5/17/2005 08:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually you do rent every time you have food or beverages at a dining (beer joint) establishment. But you are right, it is better to invoke the emotion you want at your descretion.
"Resistance is futile..."

At 5/17/2005 11:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you can't hear Eric Clapton and The Verve Pipe on your radio station, you are listening to the wrong radio station. Have you tried creating a launchcast station? It plays music you like, including obscure album tracks that only YOU and no one else likes. You don't have to own music to get the experience you're looking for. Have you tried it?

At 5/18/2005 07:12:00 AM, Blogger Jorin said...

Thanks for the input, Anonymous. I agree with you and LOVE internet radio because it does add some variety that you can't get on classic FM radio. Providers like Launchcast are even better, because, like you say, you can customize the playlist.

However, you can't take it with you...thats the only downside to internet radio. You cant burn a CD and take it with you. You cant download the radio station to your iPod and plug it into your car. The only way to take Clapton and The Verve with me is to download and burn. At least for now.....



At 5/18/2005 07:21:00 AM, Blogger causedawg said...

Thats a good point about Yahoo Launchcast. I have my own custom launchcast station, and I love listening to it at work. The only thing is, unless you pay the monthly fee to have launchcast plus, then you have to ration your listening to your custom station, or else, after a certain number of hours, it stops allowing you to listen to the station until the following month.
One thing I find great to listen to at work, is Yahoo Music Videos. This way, you can actually play a certain song on demand, and yahoo generates a playlist of songs/videos based on the song you chose to listen to. So I sometimes listen to music videos all day, and I'm just as happy as if I chose to listen to my custom station.
Many choices are out there for all the music lovers bored with their local radio stations.
The Edge


At 5/18/2005 10:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi guys! I actually had NO idea that such a thing as Launchcast existed. Thanks for finally letting me know about it! I love The Edge but can't get it on my radio here in the house or in the car. Too many other priorities, or I would own XM radio.

This brings up another topic: Now that I have kids that pay attention to what I am listening to, I can't listen to some of my all time favorites such as NIN. Bummer!

The girls love Green Day's songs that are on the radio so I did a little research. Found some very delightful (not!) songs such as Like a Rat Does Cheese.

I LOVE music, especially alternative, but am starting to wonder if there is anything decent to listen to anymore!

Okay, off my "parent" soapbox.

Keep up the blog, Jorin. I really enjoy it!


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