Thursday, January 14, 2010

general statements of purpose and intent

First, when I say I have been watching TV for most of the past two years, I mean that by way of introducing the discussions of movies (and, now and then, actual TV shows) to follow, which I plan to commence shortly with a consecutive debriefing, top to bottom, of my favorite movies of 2009 (not many of them actually released in 2009, but all of them seen for the first time by me then). Those links will go to pages on Netflix, which I have found to be a tremendously useful and reasonably priced strategy for conducting a never-ending film festival in my living room. I recommend it (in spite of their annoying long-term strategy of marketing with aggressive pop-ups on the Intertoobz). The range and depth of its catalog is simply amazing, and my experience has been that the service is never less than very good.

Discussions of music and books will continue presently as well. I haven't made a habit of visiting very many music blogs for some time now (those I do are in the blogroll). I no longer know the landscape well, so there will likely be much less of that.

On services: Having spent the past several days revisiting the dead and dying links that resulted from dropping my Rapidshare account last summer (the surprise to me is how many of them are still good), I herewith serve notice that not all of the music I discuss will any longer be accompanied by free downloads. I do this with mixed feelings. It never was my intention to cheat artists of their deserved earnings, but rather to help get the word out on their products. I didn't much mind stinting on bitrates, file format, and/or inclusion of artwork for that reason, and if some tracks were inadvertently omitted that didn't bother me either. As Chocoreve once put it so well, "Either be grateful for the music for free, regardless of bitrate, or go and buy the fucking album." For my part, the idea always has been to promote music I love and encourage you to guide your own consumer dollars, when you have them, in those directions (or euros, or whatever).

At any rate, I'm no longer interested in throwing mine at Rapidshare—nothing against it in particular. I just have better uses for my resources, which have suffered some under this economy. I may now and then upload files where I can, to services such as Sharebee, but more often I will be pointing to three online destinations that sell either downloadable music files or CDs/vinyl or both (with the additional moral benefit for us all, such as it is, of being legally contracted with the artists or at least the labels who still own the rights to the artists' music). In some cases, your clickthrough may have some marginal benefits to me, which as usual will be applied to maintenance and improvement of this site.

Those services are:

eMusic. Over the years I have used eMusic, I have had my various problems with it—currently, the agonizing and painfully slow page-loads, and always the kludgy downloading experience itself, which routinely locks up my system for minutes at a time. Rapidshare and the others are leagues better at the actual downloads. But eMusic's catalog has always been huge and lately it's been growing by leaps and bounds. Plus it's not particularly expensive and it's always a great browse (when the pages load, that is), packed with information and interesting, useful byways and tangents. I can only hope they have been focused on acquisitions and that eventually the service itself will improve. On balance, eMusic remains something I recommend.

CD Universe, which sells music as downloads and new CDs/vinyl, has the chief advantage over Amazon that it is not Amazon. Its product notes tend to be much better than Amazon, nearly on a par with eMusic, if that makes any difference to you. Its one disadvantage to Amazon is that it doesn't sell used CDs or vinyl, which of course if you ask Garth Brooks is at least as controversial and open to charges of thievery as downloading free music files. Or home taping, I suppose. We must never forget the imminent threat to the music industry of home taping. I have bought CDs before from CD Universe and have no complaints about the service.

Amazon. Since its introduction and marketing of the (still overpriced) Kindle, which may yet prove to be the iTunes of reading material, my attitude toward Amazon has softened somewhat. I have been a relatively faithful customer for years, and can vouch for every level of its service from music files to used and new CDs and books. (In fact, I even use it for selling CDs myself.) But I still have my issues. That's on me. I'll get over it one day. Meanwhile I'll link to them, but not first, at least for now.

As always, comments are welcome and invited.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back. Looking forward to your intelligent thoughtful comments.