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june 2019 Retro Gaming Article


June 30, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The sell off of Taylor Swift's master tapes is also an interesting lesson in physical media

Taylor Swift does not own her first six albums
The insidious greed of the music industry needs to end. Artists must be treated fairly and equally, having ownership of their own works!
The recent sale of Taylor Swift's master tapes brought several aspects of the music industry to an ugly light. Amidst the outrage from Swift and rebuttals from music executives and fans on both sides of the allegations - the music industry is apparently little more than a greed-driven shit-show. Can you believe Taylor Swift with all her success and power, does NOT own her own music? This came to light as her former record label was acquired by another, thus transferring Swift's back catalog to the new owner.

Swift was quick to jump on social media to give her take on the situation. I have no opinions on who is right or wrong and I have no idea what sort of deviant chaos occurred behind the scenes. The point I've taken from this mess is most artists still don't own their own songs. They were forced to give up those rights for the elusive "record deal," a common trick in the music industry.

Ownership should always be about a tangible product. No streaming. No clouds.
Whether you like Taylor's music or not, she has done a lot for equality in the music industry. Remember when she pulled all her music from Spotify to portest low artist royalties? She's done a lot to benefit all artists, not just herself.

The benefits of streaming come after other means have run their course. Streaming pays so little, it makes sense for huge artists like Taylor hold off on streaming new music and let physical media and other bundles run their course. In the short term the benefits are great for the artists. Once streaming takes over, corporations are the winners - not artists.

A Lesson In PHysical Media

In the case of music, I don't stream. To me it's a commercial hassle that doesn't cater to the way I enjoy music. I still love CDs and the concept of an ordered album. I'm not into the chaotic nonsense of playlists and such. In the case of streaming, the convenience of it primarily benefits the corporate execs behind the service. The artist is left collecting pennies for their amazing creativity. I prefer the Pay Once, Play Forever model that gives me a physical CD and the ability to play it any time, any way I choose. This gives the artist a better return and starves the stream. I love CDs and have never streamed music.

A lot of things can happen to digital and cloud based media. I'm not just talking about music. A lot of behind the scenes things can happen to your favorite movies and video games too. Patches to games often fix things, but sometimes the game is altered in a way that changes your interest in it. Netflix removes movies all the time. We're being taught to like what you're given. No thanks! If I want to watch Fast Times At Ridgemont High at 2:00 am I'm going to do so regardless of Netflix scheduling or my internet providers data-cap.

Can you really own something that can't be held or touched?
When your only claim to ownership is "use," it's more like a lease or rental. Maybe the streaming service goes down or your media is deleted by someone else's authority. When control is taken from you, ownership becomes a whole different concept. You can "own" something as long as it's convenient and profitable for the host (seller).

How many servers have been shuttered for video games you still enjoy playing. I wonder if gaming servers are ever "shuttered" to prompt gamers to buy the newer version of the game or even a new game console. Greed is a dangerous thing. It may have worked for Gorden Gekko, but more often than not, the consumer loses.

I still oen the first CD I bought - Ozzy's Blizzard of Oz. Similarly, I still have my copy of Eraser on DVD that I bought when the first wave of DVDs arrived on retail shelves. I've enjoyed these two pieces of media countless times for the initial cost of purchase. I've never paid any additional money to have enjoyed them for the past two decades +.

Physical media protects what you pay for and doesn't demand more money the second or forty-second time you play it!

Taylor Swift does not own her first six albums Cloud-based streaming does not adequately support artists and robs the consumer of true ownership!

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