Hello my beloved blog readers!! Well, if you haven’t heard already, Prince passed away without having a will, and the powers that be were/still are scrambling to figure out how to manage his $$$$$ estate. Prince made it known that he did not want to have his music streamed by any streaming service, because he felt that they were just as bad as the record labels for not paying fairly. As I’ve expressed in an earlier post, I was pissed when he pulled ALL his music, and that included Spotify! I’ve always highly disagreed with Prince’s theory from day one. It only seemed artists are not paid fairly because we are no longer selling physical media anymore, so there is a resistance to the new pricing structure. However, I just got an email today from iHeartRadio, and the email stated that they now have Prince’s entire music catalog! Now, since iHeartRadio has now made on-demand streaming available, AND since their streaming is now powered by Napster, Napster now has all his music too. I’m pretty sure that more services will follow.
I was really pleased to see this. Although, the reality was I had almost all of his music anyway so it didn’t matter to me. However, it was the principle of it all. I didn’t feel Prince was any better than the record labels, by forcing his fans to sign up for Tidal Streaming service if they wanted to stream his music (just because he felt Jay-Z would pay more money, but in reality, Jay-Z was in legal for not paying a lot of labels (so much for honesty)). Your only alternative was to purchase from iTunes, Google, Amazon, or pay collector’s prices for original albums from a specialty store. I’m sure if we could hear Prince now, he’d be pitching a bitch! But, as the record company finally understood in the end, was you can’t control, nor fight technology. End of story. Their reign of terror, and hijacking musical art for their own gain is over.
I was thinking, when was it the last time I actually purchased an album, or a CD? Wow! I really couldn’t remember! The best estimate I can make is some time about the beginning of the 1990s, which is still a pretty long time. Now, this goes to show you how technology has effected all of us, especially me. When I think about the kind of person I am, in terms of being a heavy fan of the classics, I almost never gone a month without buying something, even if it was a single or a remix of something. The 80’s were huge for me, because I used to buy a lot of both records & CDs of disco, club, and acid-house music. Now because of digital technology, I can only remember making 2 physical CD purchases since the 1990s, and that was only because they were a replacement to music I used to have. I must say technology has also changed the way I think of memorabilia too. Now, I just prefer to purchase all my entertainment on digital where it can be stored. Cassettes and CDs really do appear to be a hassle now (in terms of traveling). Wow, I just laugh when I think back on how I used to bring cases of CDs with me everywhere I went, because I never knew what musical mood I was going to be for that day. However, I don’t miss my cassettes being tangled up though. LOL 😀
You know, the one thing I am extremely happy about (at least when it comes to music), because of music streaming and how the music business is now setup, it’s pretty hard to do anything illegal. I mean although I complain about YouTube a lot, the reality is there are many factors as to why YouTube is one of the very few entities that are allowed to getaway with a lot of things. However at this stage, it doesn’t really matter what those factors are, the end result is that people can listen to music free, and as a listener you have absolutely no outwardly known legal obligations, or bound to any contract (other than not illegally RIPping the song straight off YouTube, but if it’s free already, why would you even bother doing that? It’s more work than it’s worth). Just listen and share on social media and the artists (and sometimes songwriters) get paid and marketed at the same time, though the power of fandom. I know I’ve said this a number of times before, but it’s so true, “if you still use torrents to download music illegally, you’re pretty much out dated and doing it because of habit and not necessity.” While the streaming world isn’t going to have every classic music (and for obvious reasons they will never have), to be able to go on Amazon and find that one song you want for download, and only pay just $1.29 at the most for that song (I’ve seen some classic songs for as low as .69¢), that is a steal! Then enjoy everything else on Spotify or YouTube. The music industry has made a complete 360° turn around, sad to say though, it was done not because they wanted to do right by fans, it was to save the industry. Finally, music is for ALL fans of music, and not only for the elite who can afford it. Now, we just need to work on the movie industry.
Well, it looks like we’re finally here! Wow, looking back, I remember a time (during the old Napster days), when both the music and movie industry were totally against the internet. Look at how times has changed! Before, the only way you were allowed to download a movie, was unless you paid per-download for it. Now, they’re available with our monthly streaming service! Yes, I know we were able to do this for quite some time now. However, the difference is, companies like Netflix now has much better movies (although the had to raise their prices to do it, but I think it’s worth it). With this economy, subscription services are becoming more and more important (I dare to say even vital), and I think that both the music, movies, AND now software industry is starting to finally acknowledge that now. With more and more people spending just as much time (if not even more time) on their cellphones as with their computers, this is a no-brainer! One of the many things I am most happy about, is that they offer FULL HD downloads! Instead of spending 2-3 hours ripping one blu-ray disc (sometimes much longer), you can take from about 5 up to 15 minutes (depending on your data speeds) to download a high quality movie, and call it a day 😀 It’s important to note that Netflix did not change anything on their mobile application (well, let me speak for only Android). You still have the same familiar aesthetics, with a few extra download features. Now, of course all movies are not available for download, but a lot are. They have even added a “downloadable” section for you to browse. Although I have a feeling they have more available, so I think it’s a good idea to search for what you want anyway.
Not sure if my readers are aware, Amazon Prime subscribers allows you to download too. The quality is very good, although I downloaded one or two episodes of a TV show and the sound was a little out of sync. But for the most part it works very well. To be honest though, Netflix has the better movies! Although in the TV show department, I think they are about the same (they just offer different content). The only thing that kind of annoys me about amazon, is that it takes them a LONG time to get licensing for newer movies and TV shows. Personally, I think this is because they are also retail, and they make more money by selling than streaming (plus, I guess there’s that whole physical inventory thing… LOL). The next biggest competitor is Hulu, I don’t suppose Hulu is going to offer downloads for a while. If they do, my guess it’s going to be all the “B” movies that the average person doesn’t care for. Titles like “The Killer Bunny,” or “Santa Clause Meets One Arm Karate Grandma From Outer Space.” I do hope though that more old school copyright holders offer their licenses to streaming; because those classic gems isn’t doing anything for anybody locked up away were nobody can see them again! This to me is so selfish, you’re literally keeping history away! The reality is, it is my opinion that TV stations will probably cease to exist at some point. You can literally create a show in your own home. And if you want to find proof, do some research on how newspapers are now struggling because of online blogs (and I guess you can add YouTube to that equation a well). Which begs the serious question about the validity of information being offered on the web. If you’re not well read from valid sources, you’re up shits creek. Just look at what’s going on in the last few weeks concerning Donald Trump.
So if copyright holders want to make money, they better start offering up their licenses to streaming services at a decent cost, so that customers can afford it. They’ll be no more pitching to TV stations/networks and “see if they will pickup a season, or buy a show.” Everything will pretty much be home grown. I guess you can say the streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon will replace television stations, and television networks might be paying Netflix and Amazon to feature their content on their service.
I’d like to share something I’ve gone through with Hulu a couple of months ago; I think it makes a great blog post. Actually, it wasn’t Hulu’s fault, it was the movie studio. A while ago I written an article discussing the fact that the movie industry is going through the same withdrawals the music industry had here. What I’m about to share with you is a perfect example of that. I wanted to watch a particular show I thought it looked good. However, I quickly noticed that episodes were not consistent. In other words, episodes were missing! I could not understand that because it was a new show, and Hulu is very good at making sure current episodes are available. Well, much to my disappointment, when I called Hulu, they told me it was because of that good o’l licensing. The license agreement they had for said show, was to only have 8 episodes at one time, from the last/most current show aired on television. WTF?
Now, I had to remember that it’s not Hulu’s fault. However, as a consumer, many people may not realize that, anytime a copyright holder omits episodes from streaming services, they actually make more money by forcing you to buy a $2 episode from Amazon, or an entire season on disc, just to watch a couple of episodes (defeating the purpose of having a streaming service). Now, they know most people are not going to start watching a show out of sequence (unless they know that each episode does not link to each other, such as “Law & Order”). These are the kinds of tactics that would make people use torrents. The whole reason we use streaming services is because quality physical media is far too expensive; and when I say expensive, I mean most of us really can’t afford it in this economy. There is no reason why that copyright holder couldn’t make it more affordable, and grant us access to all of the episodes. They’re doing the same things with movies. And they let you know “this movie blah blah blah will not be available on Netflix for a long time.” They really need to stop, and understand the economic landscape has changed. You know, maybe it’s not just the movie studios, maybe the issue really is the actors that command an extraordinary amount of money that force studios to do this? I don’t know. But the good thing so far (as far as I’m concerned), not only is music now affordable (at a streaming premium), it’s also legally free via internet radio w/ads and Youtube w/ads. It’s going to take the movie industry a lot longer to adjust their old mindsets and set their licensing prices fairly. You know, after the old original P2P Napster (not to be confused with today’s Napster, formally known as Rhapsody) almost single handed brought down the music industry to it’s knees in the 80s, you’d think the movie industry would take a hint. But I digress.
So, YouTube is offering a free 14 day trial of their new “YouTube Red.” I am not impressed. Not impressed at all! My readers know that I would NEVER tell a person not use or abandon a service; because if they like it, who am I to discourage right? Well, this is my first exception to the rule. Guys, I really don’t recommend purchasing the “YouTube Red” service. I’m going to sum it up in one sentence. “You’ll get more value from using Spotify’s free service!” I’m not kidding about this! It is exactly what I have expected. They are pushing to the public an unfinished product. I’ll be honest, my personal opinion, is that Google put this together as quickly as they could just to keep the music labels off their ass. The mobile app is not even intuitive. It took my so long to realize where my playlist were. I can assure you, if you’re a power user of any music app, I’ll doubt you’re going to like YouTube Red. And if you mostly use YouTube’s website, I really don’t see the point to pay $9.99 month to get the same thing with the exception of the removal of ads.
Well at least I know that they have two modes, a video mode and a head phone mode. So you can listen to it without video. I couldn’t figure out how to create playlists from the mobile app. It looks like I had to like the videos I was listening to. So in other words, my likes became my all in one playlist. The only other good thing about the YouTube Red mobile app, is that you can control the storage capacity. However, from the looks of the storage settings, you’re downloading the entire video and not the audio only. This is a problem, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post that unless you have a really good bandwidth and or unlimited mobile 4G, this is an issue! My first impression of this app is that it was not well thought out, or designed for a power user, just like their website. I will not waste my time with YouTube Red. They’re offering way too little for what they’re charging. Users just don’t want unlimited music, we want features as well; and YouTube Red offers almost none. Therefore, use Free Spotify, or if you’re looking for real user power, come on over to Napster for the same $9.99 a month.
Hi guys, I would like to share with you something I just discovered today. I am using VLC version 2.2.1. VLC is open source, and has been around for a while; it can literally play almost every file format you can think of. I normally only use VLC for watching videos. However, today I took the time to skim through some new features, and realized that VLC now has audio streaming. This should give you an idea of just how huge free radio is. Again, I’m not trying to tell you how to listen to your music; however, there is so much your missing by only sticking to one thing. There is so much culture and diversity out here on the internet; and most importantly, the kind of oldies you just don’t hear on regular local stations anymore.
Free radio is here, there is no need to use torrents anymore; and although I still have some concerns about YouTube, even YouTube is slowly but surely working on new licensing and royalty deals as I’m writing this post. I really love the new business model, music is truly indeed becoming almost free (with ads) (be it live or playlist generated stations). Like television, ads will now pay for the music, NOT the fans! Paid options such as Rhapsody, Spotify, iTunes, etc, will still be available for power users. It is unfortunate that physical memorabilia isn’t as popular anymore; but at least you don’t have to spend your entire income trying to purchase CDs of artists you love anymore. Now, I have noticed that only Jamendo & IceCast radio directory works. Not sure if the connection to those feeds are down, or there is a bug. I’ll figure it out later. But let me tell you this, the sound is good and the selections are tremendous.
Hi guys, I need to vent for a quick minute. 🙁 First, let me start off by saying, unfortunately I have never really been a Adam Sandler fan. Sorry to say. If I had a choice between Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey, I’d take Jim in a hot minute. But anyway……… Having said that, the one movie that I found that I actually liked in Sandler’s entire movie career is “Pixels (2015)” in 3D. Now to be honest, the only reason why I’ve gravitated toward this movie, is because of the movie’s vintage game theme. The special effects were really AWESOME! Everything almost looked like glowing Legos! In fact, it was sooo awesome, that his acting was actually tolerable.
What burned me up enough to want to b**c about this movie, is all the crap surrounding the 3D version of the movie. Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t have it on 3D; VUDU has it, but they’re charging $33 to own with no option to rent. What? Grrrrrr!! I logged in to my Amazon account, and saw a 3D Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital bundle for only $18! WTF? I gave VUDU such an ear full, but in reality, it’s not VUDU’s fault. $33 is the license charge that the movie studio has set, if fans want to see this movie. This makes absolutely no sense that you get a cheaper deal by purchasing the physical disc than the stream? But $33? I’m thinking to myself, there has got to be another reason I’m not seeing for this outrageous price! Either this is a massive error, or I’m thinking this price is set for fans out side the U.S.A. In reality we’re still getting a good deal, but this proves the importance of taking your time and look before you buy. Geeezzzzzzz
Sort of by accident, I found this wonderful documentary called “Downloaded (2013).” This film is almost two hours long. I’d never thought I would sit through a documentary like this; but like I said, it is extremely interesting and educational for me as far as hearing intimate feed back from RIAA and record labels. In essence, it is a very interesting look at the history of Napster, and how it changed the music industry forever. First, I’d like to say very quickly upfront, the film is not a “how to,” nor is this entire film about labeling all file sharers evil. I wanted to share this not because I want to sway people to think a certain way, but to help both music and film lovers be aware of the effects of file sharing, and how it really could have destroyed the industry.
Shawn Fanning was one of the original co-founders of Napster (long before Rhapsody took over). He quit school to pursue his dream of building a company with a fan based application, that would allow other fans to share files and communicate with other fans of the same artists or movie. Back then, because it has never been done before, it wasn’t officially illegal yet, in terms of sharing files. The music industry was slow to understanding the scope as to how many people were actually downloading, exactly how much was downloaded, as well as the ease of downloading with Napster. However, Fanning very much wanted to work a relationship with the music labels in order to get artists paid, this was his intent all along. However, the music industry still had problems with Fanning’s vision, because the music industry as a whole wanted to stick with their old ways and old formulas.
Many artists were divided on this issue. Some artists felt that Napster was doing a good thing; because statistics has shown that a significant amount of people that used Napster, actually purchased the music later on. Some artist saw it as stealing. But again, it boils down to something that was new, and the people that theoretically stand to lose money (in their eyes) was the ones that were most against it. However, the courts understand that you can’t stop technology, in addition to the fact that the music labels gave no room for fair use instances. Many fans saw Napster as no different than borrowing their friend’s record, then taping it on cassette and giving it back to them (which was legal for personal use). However, the sheer massiveness of the Internet changed the game as far as how fans get their entertainment.
I understand both sides. As I’ve said before, there are those who vow never to buy one piece of music ever again; as a form of rebellion against the greed of the music industry. It is interesting that throughout the legal battles, the music industry NEVER discussed the fact that the reason why many download so much, is because they couldn’t afford it. Once technology moved to CD, those prices went off the chain! However, through the years of long legal battles Napster had with the record labels and the RIAA, it’s helped shape the new business model we have today. Because the music labels felt that if they get rid of the “threat,” and the treat meaning Napster, everyone would stop downloading for free. This never happened; in fact, literally thousands of other file sharing software was developed using the same type of Napster infrastructure. But through the aftermath of all that mess, they have found away for fans to listen to music for free, and the labels can still get paid through an ad supported services. But I think the old peer to peer mindset still exist, and I think it will still take a while longer for old habits to break. JMHO.
After watching this documentary, I realized this might be one of the many reasons why the music labels haven’t attacked YouTube as harshly as they did Napster. They are literally scared of having an even worse repeat performance of piracy, and that people could theoretically stop using legal services like Rhapsody, etc, altogether; and really end the music industry as we know it for good. Even though the music industry would never admit it, the fans won; and the days of milking fans dry was over; and that was the bottom line. It was because of Napster, that music (and film) has now become more affordable/accessible to those who support their artists/actors. There are many companies such as Spotify who have a vision of making music free by using an ad based system. So far, despite the apposing view from companies like Apple, this formula does seem to work (they’re not making loads of money, but they work). But you know what? It is my view that it really doesn’t matter, because no matter what any music streaming service does, at a standard price point of 9.99 a month, the music labels are going to take 80% of the revenue anyway. Music streaming is a very hard business to get into. Which is why business like Live365 has folded. This is largely because labels want more and more money; labels just have a hard time understanding that our economy has changed. Especially when it comes to music, music is a part of our culture, fans have a right to afford their favorite music. Watch it on Netflix Downloaded (2013).