Log in

View Full Version : CDs are not antithetical to filesharing

2006-05-08, 10:50
Back in the days of the first popular filesharing with Napster, p2p filesharing was thought of as an alternative to the purchasing of CDs. That came about due to the hype of the RIAA, which in its propaganda accused the process of filesharing of causing it to lose sales. For the RIAA, every download meant a sale lost. It actually wasn't and isn't true though, as it has been demonstrated that many people who download music also purchase CDs, and filesharing is a great promotional tool for the record companies.

The notion of CDs being the opposite to filesharing, was also pushed through by filesharers. Some of them were angry at the RIAA for its anti-filesharing stance, and refused to buy any CDs. And other filesharers, some of who may have actually been covert RIAA propagandists, justified their filesharing with economic arguments, by saying that CDs were too costly and that they would instead download their music for free.

DRM threatens the freedom of music. If the RIAA could have its way, all music would be restricted by way of DRM and would require a subscription, including the CD. While the RIAA has tried to introduce DRM into CDs, there is a limit to their success due to it being an older format that needs to function on many players. Even the most egregious example involving CDs with rootkits, such as discussed here (http://www.3-3-3.org/forum/showthread.php?t=868), can be avoided easily. In an age where music is sold as an ethereal downloaded product that is DRMed, the CD represents a solid product which you own permanently and you will not lose the rights or ability to listen to after it sits on your shelf for twenty years.

Because filesharers support the music and its freedom, they should also support the audio CD format. That is why filesharing and CDs are not antithetical.

Filesharing allows for the discovery of new music, by searching of the network. Also if one has enabled it, one can discover new music by browsing the shared files of people on filesharing networks, since people who have one type of interesting song often have other types as well. Unfortunately that browsing feature in new filesharing clients has been disabled by default, due to fear of RIAA lawsuits. Lastly there is another way to discover new music, and that is by acquiring the CD and listening to the other tracks that were less popular or unknown. The CD represents another way to discover new music.

An article in Spring 2006 (23:1) of 2600 magazine titled "The DRM Plan" by Don gives a good defense of the CD. Here is an excerpt:

"There is another reason to buy CDs. It's not a technical one, it's an ideological one. When you hop on a P2P network or an online music store you grab the track you want and then maybe the rest of the album. Or, if you grab the entire album, you cull the tracks you don't want at the moment and delete them. You can do this with a CD as well, putting all your favorite tracks on a mixCD or putting them on repeat, but the rest of the album isn't lost. When you ditch the album for the single you rob yourself of those times when you pull out an old album and let it play past the one song you liked, when you hear the next track and understand it in a way you didn't before, when you hear a song at a party and then later find you had it yourself, taking you back to that moment. When you accept only taking the tracks from the moment and scuttling the rest - a lauded advantage of P2P - you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to rediscover music, your music. You are instead buying into an ideology of music not as art or even culture but as product, as something disposable. That's the music industry's ideology. Don't let it be yours."

For related articles, see:
RIAA versus MPAA (http://www.3-3-3.org/forum/showthread.php?t=318)
should we boycott the RIAA? (http://www.3-3-3.org/forum/showthread.php?t=845)