P2P is what the Internet is SUPPOSED to be like.

I know I should have said this a long time ago, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. [Now] I’m compelled to say. Compelled to speak my mind.

Beep. Not allowed access to Google. You might potentially access, read or god forbid download IP. Oooh that does sound serious. Let’s all just go back to our caveman roots.

Geez, what’s the big issue here? The Internet was MADE for information sharing. That was what it was meant for. Sure, not even 80% the information shared actually has anything to do with the betterment of mankind but hell even that possible 20% is probably copyright protected. The world understands the reasoning, but the industries don’t seem to understand the consumers!

Even if a particular artist is a absolute favourite, I resent having to have to pay for their entire album, which may not have every song to my liking. Why should my tastes be put down in favour of some industry geezer’s compilation? I’m not him. And it’s ridiculous to have to wait for an particular band’s Best Of compilation just so it’s worth it [and even then, it’s some geezer’s idea of what’s good and what’s not]. I strongly believe, that the only kind of music compilations [not compiled by the consumer] that qualify to be sold together in one album are soundtracks, and that’s only because OSTs reflect the mood of the movie. And turns out, OSTs are also one of the more expensive albums you might end up buying cos they get paid by the movie producers AND the record companies.

Yes there are online music stores nowadays that sell you individual [relatively popular] tracks, but they all sell with DRM. CDs don’t have DRM [at least they didn’t for the most part until So…cough I didn’t say anything!] And I think music albums are in general overpriced. And before you experience whiplash as you almost instanly face my direction after having loading stuff from where the sun don’t shine, rtfa. Yes! Digg me down. Sue me but it doesn’t change the fact that music albums in general are overhyped and overpriced.

Consider a movie. Budgets go into the 8-9 digit realms, and typical movies take a sizeable cast [including co-stars] and a even bigger background crew [dig this: it takes 4-7 minutes for the credits to roll in the end]. All these people are getting paid with that movie’s budget. Don’t get me started on celebrity paychecks; I propose capitalist society should have limits to the number of bank accounts and the amount of money in each, to prevent wealth disparity from getting worse.

Even so, with such high budgets, movies are released, and after a lengthy run at cinemas near you, they end up as DVDs [and VCDs]. Now I can’t speak for other countries, but here in Singapore, new DVDs cost around $30, and after maybe 6months, anywhere from $19.90 to even $25 for 2. And these are highly enjoyable 2-hour long shows [sometimes with many bonus features!] that were made with multi-million dollar budgets with the sole purpose of entertaining the audience.

Let’s look at a music album then. Most popular [read: not so talented] musicians nowadays are paid pretty highly. I mean look at the amount of bling bling! [It’s almost as if sellability is a bigger factor to determining success in the music industry than talent] But then again, what figure on any paycheck is ever truly adequate. Lifestyles scale up, never down. So help me out here. From revenue from previous album and any concerts [never understood the need for concerts] in between, [IMNSHO] [popular] artistes [seem to] pen songs about how screwed up their life is [excuse me, I need to guffaw here], the ethics of playing hard to get, their identity issues and in some cases, personal spiteful messages to/about other artistes/peers. Ironically, some of they things they sing about, they don’t even care about [they say they do and you believe them right? “You are beautiful, no matter what they say. Words can’t bring me down.” Awwww!] And what’s worse, some poseur groups don’t even write their own lyrics! So all you’re paying to hear are their voices [which frankly isn’t bloody remarkable either] and the identity you get from admitting you listen to these particular bands.

I admit, songs don’t actually have cinema runs [which are an important part of movie revenue collections], but considering the overhead is cheaper, the number of people involved is lesser, the amount of actual physical work done is lesser [unless you count msuic videos and even then!], and now with the advent of online [legal] music downloads, there’s negligible physical transportation to speak of, no need for jewel cases and exquisitely printed album art [I love cover art, but with online albums, cover art can stay as a designer image file. Eco-friendly!], no import/export costs compared to imported CDs.

And yet they have the audacity to charge you US$0.99 [on average], and claim that [assuming an album has 10-11 songs on average], then you’re paying about the same price as if you bought the CD from a store. Considering I’m arguing that CDs in stores already cost too much [about S$20 here in S’pore, compared to $30 for a DVD], then the online version seems to be more expensive for less work done. What’s the reason? Lemme guess. Major labels are paying off the lost revenue of public transportation because of less people going over to the music stores.
Sounds funny? Microsoft is doing something similar to the Zune. Part of the sale price of every Zune is “compensation” to some major label for the majority of unpaid music that is going to be played in it.

I’d rather pay US$1.99/ep for a TV Show, or even $12.99 for a movie than $0.99 cents for a song. Doesn’t make sense that something that requires vastly less man-hours should cost that much.

Funnily enough, they claim they’re losing money that they never had. When accounting for the lost revenue, you’re accounting for the difference between projected sales figures and actual sales figures.I’ve never seen radically or gradually poorer-looking artistes as they sing their progressively crappier music on stage. Imagine. [Insert random RnB artiste name here {they’re all the same to me; crap!}] without bling bling. Gasp! [read later post on RnB and hip-hop].

Since music on CDs has no DRM, and online, you can buy individual tracks, and in general, music is too expensive, the best solution would be to sell cheaper individual tracks online without DRM. That would be for the best. Steve Jobs said it; maybe he had some corporate background plans behind it, so his motivation may have been different, but I agree with the message.

Now P2P. Imagine the possibilities [the good ones]. There’s no such thing as the web ever going down if P2P is fully embraced and integrated into existing standard protocols of web-content delivery. If DRM can for all intents and purposes, remove modifying/unconditional transfer rights, then surely there can be a similarly embedded metadata tag that can automatically contact the relevant server and open a purchase page. Sorta like WMV files with licenses. Only cool part is, if this form of DRM can be universally compliant, then you can have the option of varying levels of automatic/semi-automatic purchasing [provided your profile has associated credit card data; stop whining and make it secure!]. Imagine this happens even if you’re sharing files among friends over a private network. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not going to be disastrous, it’s genius! Given the ubiquitious nature of music and the sheer number that each person has, this means that the industry WILL see revenue pick up and can therefore offer it even cheaper! If you can do it with video files, why not audio? And for those worried about spending too much, you could even set monthly quotas and keep the backlog for the next. Because with this kinda DRM, you just can’t play it until you pay for it, but once you do, you can play it wherever you want. Unique and easily updated licenses.

Imagine you could one day get popular music at about 30cents? And rarer pieces at slighly higher prices? And would it kill the industry gods that be to agree on a particular standard? What happened to the customer is always right?

Anyway I think P2P sharing structure is actually a BOON to ISPs, not anything else. Considering people download far more than they upload, and that you’re not always able to use the idle uload bandwidth for augment your downloads, wouldn’t it be great if you could actually productively use your unused upload bandwidth for the benefit of netizens worldwide?

And the technology itself is harmless, it’s the content that is shared. Understood. And ISPs and government bodies claim to understand. Do they really? Closing down torrent sites with money-hungyy lawsuits isn’t going to help. It’s just a waste of money. Other sites spring up, like a mythical hydra. Isn’t that the beauty of P2P? Proliferation?

P2P also is classic example of how redundancy and semi-decentralized data systems CAN work on a large network of connections. Redundancy means there’s always at least one person with the file you need, and there’re always backups in case something happens. And the possibility of all the backups vanishing is minimal!

So what exactly CAN we share legally? Anything that’s allowed to go on youtube [in better quality], anything that’s available on myspace [in faster speeds and easier browsing], legal torrents whatever. If a good safe and fair DRM system was available, then anything media could be shared actually. Cos the ones you have to pay for, will be paid for or not watched/heard at all. And I tell you, there’s nothing. NOTHING. That beats the high of watching stuff that you really wanna watch
while stuff you’re going to watch in just a while downloads in the background.

Even movies/series could be sold as they are now.

So obviously there are benefits to P2P technology, and if the most common complaint [that’s also a corporate complaint which automatically makes it a major complaint], which is illegal filesharing is addressed in some way that is both industry and consumer friendly, then the internet could start to evolve just in time to meet the increasing needs of the future online community. Hopefully.

Imagine a Malthusian bandwidth starved future. We don’t want that.


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