@matthewlang recently posted a link to a tweet referring to the closure of the Microsoft ebook store and the fact that it meant that DRM’d books would no longer work. A book working… that in itself is a sentence that causes a double take.
Personally, I never got in to the whole ebook thing. I will read PDFs if that’s all I can get but I don’t have a Kindle, don’t use iBooks, or any other technology of this type. It’s not a philosophical stance, just a preference. I like a physical book or magazine, it’s as simple as that.
BUT… there is another aspect that is important and that is the control over the content that you have purchased. I have plenty of books and they don’t rely on someone else continuing to grant me access so that I can enjoy them. That, to me, is worth the price.
The same applies to music. I do not use streaming services. I still buy CDs and vinyl as my primary means of accessing music. I think I bought my first album in 1980 (‘Gosh It’s…’ by Bad Manners, an English ska band) and never sold or disposed of any of my vinyl. It was stored for most of the
My switch to buying CDs in 1990 was because albums started to be released on CD only, both for new albums and reissues. My first CD bought was a reissue (‘Night of the Living Dregs’ by the Dixie Dregs) which wasn’t available on vinyl and was even harder to buy in Scotland. I went to a record shop to order it and it took about 10 weeks for them to get it. My uncle recorded it on to tape for me and I then began to save for a CD player to add to my stereo. My return to buying vinyl again was a similar circumstance where bands started to release limited editions on vinyl only, so the turntable came back out again.
I am quite happy living with two formats. I don’t participate in the analogue v digital argument. I don’t think vinyl is necessarily superior and, in fact, I don’t need to own everything on vinyl. For new artists or recordings where it’s been recorded digitally and ultimately made available on vinyl I remain sceptical as to the advantages – if it’s only available on vinyl, so be it. I like vinyl where it is an older album, recorded pre-digital, and I will seek out a used copy so I can hear it the way it was originally released. Also, in some cases, the CD release has sometimes been edited (the George Lucas effect) so it is not the same as the original release (‘Under a Blood Red Sky – U2). I grew up with the original version, so prefer to listen to it albeit the edits were done for reasons of legal copyright. Naughty Bono!
The biggest advantage of owning the physical artefacts is that nobody can remove my ability to listen to them. As long as I have the requisite playback equipment and the antiquated sound storage device I am good to go.
It’s much like the micro.blog philosophy – own your own content. I know I don’t technically own the music, but I own the facility to play it at my convenience, without having adverts inserted, and without being at the whim of network availability or the continued operation of the appropriate service or company.
I’m happy to say that if Spotify or Apple Music were to go the same way as Microsoft ebooks, and I was to deliver the eulogy, it would be very short… ‘Alas, poor Spotify, I never knew ye’.