As I bought yet another shitty song from a shitty band off iTunes because I had a ridiculous craving to listen to it, I shook my head at myself and asked “why don’t I listen to it on Youtube or Spotify or their Myspace page?” And yet, I couldn’t stop myself from clicking that buy button. As I type, I am downloading Starstrukk by 3OH!3 and questioning that if I must buy bad music, why off iTunes where it’s 99p a song as opposed to 69p or even 29p on AmazonMP3. The answer is? I just can’t find it in me to pirate music any more. Even horribly bad but ridiculously catchy music.
My purchased playlist is something like a warzone. In one corner, I have AFI B-sides and Tom Gabel’s solo EP straining for dominance over the ‘naughties’ electropop revolution fronted by Lady Gaga and that ridiculous hair bow. Across the void, the Pokemon theme song bounces around trying to land a Razor Leaf attack right in Fugazi’s rhythm section as Ludacris sits back with his bitches and his hoes as he acts tough and shit. It’s bloody impossible. That’s not without mentioning the random songs that my sister requests and I can’t help but say yes because oh well, the government is paying for this right now. And the crown jewel of my collection? “Amazing Horse” by Weebl. You know the flash video, right? If not, here’s a link for your enjoyment and I warn you, it’s not safe for work. Believe it or not, I’ve listened to that song at least ten times from my iTunes library, and countless more from the video and on my iPod. But the question is, why can I not just pirate them? Or listen to them by other legal means without purchasing them?
As for piracy, I’ve been deterred ever since this blog post. I was on a particularly big Frank Turner kick at the time and stumbled across this blog… and then feelings of ‘oh shit’ ruminated throughout me. The poor lowly peons of the distribution floor didn’t deserve my disloyalty! So, unless it’s ridiculously priced and impossible to get within the UK (ie anything Japanese that isn’t Utada Hikaru or Polysics), I will buy EVERYTHING. Even if I don’t truly like it and I just need to listen to it to get it out of my head, I will buy it. That’s a bit over the top for the odd single, and I’ll admit, if it’s just the one song, I probably won’t buy it but instead, go to Last.FM or something similar. But then… there are those special songs. Not special as in phenomenal, but more like ‘special ed’ because I can’t get them out of my head unless I suddenly drop my IQ so much that my memory starts to go. This is usually because they’re overplayed on Starz or a similar low quality music channel that plays videos in awful resolution and has a chat bar at the bottom populated with the country’s youngest and dumbest. But unfortunately, they play most of my guilty pleasures, so the channel goes on and stays on for the idiotic comments at the bottom which after 10pm get a little risque and a lot more hilarious. Either way, much of my secret playlist ends up debuting on there and then permeates my skull and doesn’t leave until I hear the song over and over again in better quality, which is where iTunes comes in, with its lovely one click buy function and quick download. I can forget those songs after a couple of weeks but leave them to haunt my iTunes library for the rest of my lifetime. Get in.
Okay, so why not Spotify? I have Spotify, but never open it. Part of that is down to protest – when I first got Spotify, every band I searched came up with a big fat zero on the search counter. My music taste is clearly too obscure for the masses, but I was even confronted with this searching for Heatmiser, who had a release on Caroline, an imprint of EMI and would presumably be on there. Alas, Spotify and I are not to be. I also hate the adverts and refuse to pay £9.99 a month for premium membership, just because I wouldn’t mind being able to have a larger music library on my iPhone. The whole program feels so artificial as well… it’s just not the same as clutching a CD in your grubby mitts. Even MP3s are a part substitute with that, providing they have album art. Spotify even looks like an iTunes rip off, with similar layout settings and feel. Forgive me for my loyalty to Apple, but I’ll take silver over dark grey any day.
My main problem lies in the fact that I’m a collector. Call it excessively material if you will, but I like to collect things. Action figures, books, CDs, comics, Mickey Mouse memorabilia, Pokemon cards, snowglobes… the list goes on. By having the song in my library, I feel a certain sense of completeness that I wouldn’t with a simple Youtube listen. It also means I don’t have to watch bad videos with horribly scripted lyrics superimposed on the top. So, whether I like it or not, my purchased playlist will be plagued with bad electronica, random funk songs, internet phenomena and the odd Robbie Williams song because I can’t let go of the nineties. Maybe I will be graduating to AmazonMP3 at 29p a song after all.