The Practical Reasons to Hate DRM

I admit it – when it comes to music, I’m really a simpleton. True music buffs probably would call me “part of the problem” or something equally bad. I may hear a song on the radio, or perhaps in a commercial or in movie credits and go “oh, I like that one” which causes all the musically sophisticated people to roll their eyes in unison and/or do a facepalm and proceed to explain to me how popular music is total crap, or how that particular band sold out years ago and respectable people shun it now. It can be quite embarrassing sometimes and thus I rarely admit to liking certain songs until I’m sure that I’m not committing some unforgivable social faux pas. I usually hide my true nature as a musically inept, unsophisticated, (even barbaric) freak of nature around people I don’t know very well.

I guess due to some fatal flaw in my brain I don’t seem to be capable of picking a very narrow genre of music to worship and shun just about everything else. I mean, I’m like this with technology too – I might be opinionated, but not religious about my software. I use vim, emacs, eclipse and visual studio – whichever seems to be the best tool for a job at a given time. That’s how I view music too – I sample from different genres and usually find something easy on the ears in each one. Apparently this is a shameful habit which is frowned upon by civilized people. Apparently if you know what music someone listens too, you can make all sorts of judgments about their personality. Personally, I’d never judge people on something like their taste in music or, I don’t know, the browser they use, but I digress.

Because of this strange quirk in my musical sense, I get hopelessly perplexed every time someone asks me what music do I listen to. I honestly do not know what to say. You’d think I’d have a stock answer for this by now, but I don’t. So usually before I try to change the subject I just blurt out something like “oh, you know… I like just about everything” which sounds silly and contrived every single time. Seriously, there is just no one genre that I could pick as my favorite. This is even worse when people start talking about their favorite bands, albums, songs and artists. It’s horrible cause I don’t have any. I tend to like 2-3 particular songs per artist on average. I never really liked the ideas of albums because to me they were always a mix of 80% filler stuff that I did not care for and 20% of total win. I know that many people think differently but again – I’m a freak of nature here.

Also, I tend to identify music using the mnemonic device called “the song that goes like this” where I start humming the tune or try to sing the words (badly) and then get embarrassed and stop. Most “civilized” folks will then tell me the artist, the album, the name of the track, the year it was released the record company and etc. I usually don’t make a point to remember all of that cause it’s in the mp3 tags – right? I mean, I can look it up next time it comes up – right.

As you can imagine talking about music makes me uncomfortable, because I tend to just enjoy it rather than study and/or worship it. So whenever this conversation happens I try to steer it towards the more familiar grounds. Like, where do you get your music. Cause that opens up a whole new list of topics I actually can talk about at length like filesharing, best torrent sites, evils of DRM and etc. That’s the stuff I know and care for.

For example, I couldn’t care less who sings that song that goes “dam dam di dam”, or whether it is classified as pop, rock, hip-hop or r&b. What I really care about is whether or not it is locked up by DRM. After all that is what really affects my ability to enjoy the music. All that other stuff is just meta-info that I can look up later. Sadly, most people think the opposite. They don’t really care about DRM because:

  1. It is an acronym, and acronyms are scary things that only nerds understand
  2. It doesn’t affect them personally, because they don’t know their music has it
  3. Besides, if it helps the artists to get paid, then it can’t be bad

Time and time again I tried to explain to people why DRM is bad, but I realize now that I have been going about it the wrong way. There are really two ways to approach the subject:

  1. Theoretical way: using reason, logic and particular examples
  2. Practical: by telling people about a personal experience so that they can emphasize

Little did I know that logic and reason is the domain of the stuck up elites, and academic eggheads. Normal people hate logic because it confuses them. Worse, when you talk to them in a logical way, and ask them to use reason and common sense they feel offended. They go “who the hell does this guy think he is, telling us to be all logical and stuff”. This pisses people off and they stop listening. So I could talk till I’m blue in the face how DRM is cryptologically unsound, and draw diagrams with Bob, Alice and Eve (where Alice==Eve). I could talk about how DRM is offensive and implies we customers are all criminals. But all of that just aggravates the issue and does not impart any understanding on the civilized folks who like to buy their music at iTunez.

It seems that it is much more effective to appeal to these people on an emphatic emotional level and tell them a story of how you lost your music collection due to DRM.

steal_this_comic.png
comic © xkcd

Unfortunately (or fortunately for me) I was smart enough to avoid DRM all my life so I have no personal horror stories to share. Sad but true. Do you have any stories I could use? If you do, please share them below. I’d totally appreciate it, as it would help me to put a personal spin on these stories.

Common argument I get from DRM apologists is naturally the “Apple wouldn’t do me that way” argument. The reasoning here is that since Apple is not going anywhere anytime soon your music is safe. At any time you can go and de-authorize your old devices and authorize new ones. Likelihood of Apple going out of business, even in the shitty economy we have now is almost infinitesimal. And it’s not like they could just switch of iTunes since it is one of their biggest sources of income.

I agree – they are not going anywhere, and they are not going to just switch of iTunes. It doesn’t mean they are not going to fuck you over one day once iTunes ceases to be profitable. It may happen – someone will one day come up with a better service, snatch their market share and then all iTunes users will get stuck with collections forever bound to 5 old machines they no longer use. After all, this is precisely what Microsoft, Yahoo and Wallmart have done recently. All were huge corporations with tons of money and assets. No one expected them to go out of business. But at some point their DRM offering stopped being profitable (or perhaps it never was but they got tired of dumping money into it) and they pulled the plug.

When your music collection becomes obsolete it won’t be because some catastrophic bankruptcy, hostile takeover of the century, a nuclear war breaking out or asteroid hitting the earth. It will be because some CEO making an executive decision to phase it out to save money, improve the bottom line of the company or simply to make you re-buy all your songs from their new service. Sad thing is that I’m probably preaching to the choir here. Normal people who buy DRM’d music don’t read my blog because… Well, because they don’t read as a rule. No, I’m serious.

Do this experiment – go up to people you know and ask them if they read any good books lately. More than a half the time you going to get an answer among the lines of “I don’t really have time to read books”. The rest of the people will either tell you about some silly self-help book, a pulpy romance/action novel paperback they picked up at Wallmart counter for $1.50 or the bible. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with reading the bible – it’s just, you know – nice to branch out sometimes and read other types of literature too.

I was sort of shocked when I started doing that. Over time I got used to the idea that majority of the population is only semi-literate and that for most people a page of text without any pictures is scary and boring. It is quite terrifying but then again when you watch the news and it sort of makes sense. You see the half coherent, illogical drivel and nonsense all around and then you remember that after all these are the very same people who don’t read, don’t learn and don’t want to know shit. And then you start to wonder what kind of music do these idiots on TV listen to – cause then you could like totally judge them harsher!

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25 Responses to The Practical Reasons to Hate DRM

  1. freelancer SWEDEN Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Hey, I’m offended! I don’t read books very often. I have read quite a few RFCs this year though, so maybe that evens it out a bit :P

    Also, +10 awesome points for using an xkcd comic :)

    Whenever someone asks me what kind of music I listen to, I just say “It depends on my mood” and try to change the subject. It usually works. As for personal DRM horror stories, I’m afraid I don’t have any. I try to avoid it like the plague. Actually, I think there’s a cure for the plague nowadays, so I should probably avoid DRM even more…

    Oh, and somewhat on-topic… Has anyone tried Spotify? I got an invite a few days ago, and so far I love it. The free version does have some advertisement, but only like 20 seconds every 10 songs, which is completely acceptable to me. Of course it remains to be seen whether or not the free version will continue to exist when they get out of beta.

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  2. IceBrain PORTUGAL Mozilla Firefox Debian GNU/Linux Terminalist says:

    Yeah, I know what you mean. DRM really helps the idea of downloading music via torrents. I for one like to hear the album at least once before buying – the 30 sec, bad quality preview isn’t really enough to make me spend a significant amount of money. And DRM doesn’t allow me to listen to music in my PC, portable player and laptop, so I would obviously have to anti-DRM it.

    I like the donation-based system – I’m still at college and trying to find a job, so money doesn’t grow on my trees, so I can’t afford to give money to give money to all the bands that deserve it, and I don’t think one should be cut off from listening to something as important as music just because he can’t afford it.

    As for the music styles, I like many style as well, but I like more music from specific styles, mainly rock (hard and low) and some metal. And I worship some bands, although most of them no longer play and/or have some member dead, like Doors, Pink Floyd or Morphine.

    As for books, I am still to know what it a really good book, although some of my favorites are, as far as I know, considered classics, like 1984 or some from Oscar Wilde.

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  3. Nathan UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    fopa => faux pas

    And I agree completely. Despite being very pro-technology and pro-digital-formats, I generally buy CDs rather than download from an iTunes-like service because I know I have a much greater chance of success in getting my music in an unencumbered digital format.

    It also helps that I run Linux at home so the chances of Sony or anyone else installing a rootkit are a lot lower :)

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  4. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I have the same problem… I might remember song/artist names, and I might remember the tune, but tying the 2 things together is a lot more hit and miss, and putting anything at all into a genre is beyond me.

    I don’t care what genre it is, I care what it sounds like, and for all the pretence that the genre describes the kind of sound you can expect, I am entirely capable of liking one song and hating another even if they’re supposedly almost identical in style.

    In short, screw anyone who thinks the metadata is that important. Also screw anyone who can’t follow a logical argument, has a deep reliance on anecdotes to understand a situation, and anyone who equates reading with reading garbage (I don’t read a huge amount any more… a lot less than I used to, but I make sure that what I do read is good stuff)

    I know I just stuck a finger up at most of the population, but (and I repeat) screw them… I’ve never been a fan of people in general. Specific people, sure, but “People”… can’t be doing with them.

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  5. Morten DENMARK Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Hey there, pretty nice blog you got there – lots of good stuff :-)

    I kinda feel like I know both sides of the music issue. For most pop songs (as in those that are played on the radio), I usually just remember the chorous of the song, if I need to find the title I usually just google for “Lyrics that I can remember lalala” lyrics – works like a charm!

    On the other hand, I really enjoy listening to HiFi music, and for that I listen to specific artists like Pink Floyd and Supertramp – also, I consider those albums to be worth buying in full (and I often sit down just to listen for a long time), can’t say the same for most pop music.

    I’ve actually bought a few things with DRM on them, although I try to avoid it and support companies that supply alternatives such as livemetallica.com (FLAC recording of the concert I went to) and GOG.com – a site selling cheap old games, that have been patched to work with XP and Vista, as digital downloads without DRM.
    I did buy Half-Life 2 via Steam, and a 2 downloadable games over Xbox Live Arcade and PSN on my Xbox 360 and PS3, respectively. Should they decide to pull the plug, it’s not much a loss anyhow.
    I would never even consider buying DRM’d music.

    I don’t really feel like I have time to read books, at least not fiction – or perhaps it’s just that I prefer other entertainment media. I wouldn’t consider myself iliterate though – I read a lot on the Internet, and quite a few (e)Books on computer science and math.

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  6. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Suggestion for the “I don’t have time to read literature” crowd. Buy a good book and throw it into your work bag. Next time you are grabbing quick lunch alone take the book with you and read as you eat.

    Put it in your bathroom. Then when you go to take a dump, instead of reading shampoo bottle label, or PC Gamer or whatever you usually keep there read few pages of your book. Some people like to read while soaking in the bath tub as well – but I prefer showers.

    You can also read on a bus/train to work (if you commute by public transportation), though I don’t recommend reading while driving. I’ve seen it done, but I’d advise against it.

    The nice things about most paperback books is that they are small, compact and durable. You can take them into all the places where you wouldn’t take your laptop, iPhone or the nice-big hard cover CS book. :)

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  7. Craig Betts UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Solaris Terminalist says:

    I have managed to loose a few songs from swapping my iTunes folder around on different Macs. My solution is to now burn regular audio CDs and then re-import them back into iTunes. Presto! DRM removed! Only thing is, the audio CD has my iTunes account embedded into it to allow tracking if I decide to share it (which I won’t).

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  8. Matt Doar UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    I’ve come to suspect that reading books with substantive content has always been a behaviour of the elite. Let’s not be suprised that the average person doesn’t read more than magazines and newspapers.

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  9. Daosus UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox SuSE Linux says:

    Craig: Have you considered “burning,” mounting, and ripping a CD image to save yourself a hunk of plastic?

    And yeah, I keep away from DRM, and don’t really listen to any one kind of music. It weirds people out.

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  10. Ian Clifton UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    You’re such an elitist, Luke. You probably listen to *insert elitist band here*!

    Like freelancer, the music I listen to depends on my mood. I make heavy use of Pandora, which means I don’t have to remember the band or song names; I just have to remember something similar. If I am relaxing and getting some reading done, I might listen to jazz. If I am working out, it would probably be rock or metal (I’m not much of a fan of cut and dry genres either).

    I have not figured out what people in general do besides perhaps socializing and drinking. I keep so busy with a huge variety of hobbies and interests, but most people just stick to one thing. I’d go insane doing that.

    So judge me; Phil Collins was the first artist that I liked :)

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  11. Mack UNITED KINGDOM Safari Mac OS says:

    I just created and lost about 7 paragraphs because of the fucking port blocking at my university and absentmindedness when I copied but didn’t paste.

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  12. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    @Craig Betts: Don’t you loose the quality this way? Converting into a lossy format?

    @Matt Doar: Really? Elites? You mean like rich+privileged or highly educated or both? My dad is neither – he was an electrician, he drove a cab and now he works as a contractor. But I always see him with a book. So I wouldn’t consider this a rule.

    Maybe it’s my upbringing. My dad read a lot, my mom was a teacher so she always made sure I had something to read that was not complete crap. She used to read to me when I was to young to read myself.

    These days parents buy their kids a Wii and call it a day. :P

    @Ian Clifton: Same here – too many interests and hobbies, and no time in the day for all of them.

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  13. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    @Mack: This is why I always use the It’sAllText extension to open all my long comments and posts in vim. This way if Firefox crashes I still have Vim open with my post. If my computer crashes I still have vim’s buffer saved in the itsalltext folder inside my Firefox profile. It works wonders. :)

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  14. Mack UNITED KINGDOM Safari Mac OS says:

    Anyway…

    MAJOR TL;DR, EXPLANATIONS AND JUSTIFIED LIFE/MUSIC ADVICE CONTAINED WITHIN.

    This is all a bit messy, because it’s 4am and I’ve spent an hour going over and adding stuff.

    Albums are good because they give the artist room to work in pieces that would fail miserably as standalone pieces, and basically gives them breathing room so they can stray from the “catchy song” musical formula of riff, chorus, verse, chorus, riff, etc. Did you ever hear a radio hit that was the purest musical expression of despair? Well, no, because that shit never makes it to radio, no matter how good it is. For a track to be popular and catchy and create that Musical Happy Feeling, artistically that’s a pretty small box.

    Again, albums just give room to the artist to work on a deeper level- It’s hard to have subtle social satire in a 9 word max chorus line. Concept albums (Case and point, my favourites of Deltron 3030 and NIN’s Year Zero) allow the musician to play author with lyrics and create settings and characters and tell a story with sound. The best way to explain really is to use examples, so..

    Year Zero: Opens to an aggressive drum solo, HYPERPOWER being chanted, LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT in the background.. and leads into “The Beginning of the End”, then into vocal tracks written from a variety of viewpoints, dealing with conflict in the middle east, defiance and rebellion in Survivalism, a warning from a godlike, alien presence phoned in over a non-western musical scale (Very radio-unfriendly), giving way to fears of dystopian survelliance and drugs in the water supply, leading right through a series of sound collages and instrumentals, and cumulating into a singalong anthem as the curtain finally comes sweeping down on the human race, at the hands of “The Presence”- The ethreal hand reaching down from the sky on the album artwork.

    K, take a breather. You earned it while I prep my next few words.

    NIN’s Year Zero is so chockfuckingfull of different viewpoints set in this vision of the future that it was actaully accompanied by an ARG to make sense of the fucking thing. The album is crammed with quality music that would never even EXIST outside of an album concept- Not just the one, justified filler instrumental, but tracks that are more sound than music, one notable track that stops being a song halfway through and gives way to a series of terror inducing electronic noise and echoes, tracks using unconventional scales, tracks with lyrics that would otherwise never get heard (“So I guess you cannot win/With the colour of your skin”).. but you get the picture.

    IMPORTANT BIT******************

    In a nutshell: Everything about the album I’ve just described above (For those of you who skipped to the caps line) illustrates why your preferred method of finding/gathering/listening too music is, well, Fucked Up.

    (And why: )That method of distribution contraints the artist, and therefore the listener- It’s the musical equivelent of sitting in a huge room filled with amazing stuff with a shoebox over your head with photos of said stuff on the inside. It’s by doing this that you get the social Faux Pax (False Step).

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  15. Mack UNITED KINGDOM Safari Mac OS says:

    I find when doing that exact thing that I’m Never Ever Satisfied with the damn music. I’ll overplay the track and consume it continually, and then repeat it, without ever feeling like I’ve had a complete musical experience. Even if I download the majority of tracks from an album, they’ll be in the wrong order, so the completeness gets.. scrambled. And it’s like trying to listen to music through a cubist prism (Excuse the mixed metaphor). Whereas a well crafted album leaves me feeling really enriched.

    One thing to note: When I say Album, I mean an album you go out and buy from a music shop, that’s produced by a band or solo artist. NOT a Compilation (And this goes for classical albums too, because each classical track is generally a complete work in itself).

    See, musical tracks you consume through casual browsing are not works in themselves but figments of a greater whole. This is Just the Way It Is. Every album I’ve ever own has had a definable start, middle and end in terms of musical mood as well as subject matter.

    Don’t get me wrong, you’ll probably hate Year Zero. It’s teenage, dystopian, angsty, and difficult as hell to listen too, but it’s deeply rewarding. I actaully view my copy off Year Zero with the same affection I view my mahogony beside table- It’s a constant that exists in pressed plastic, it’s battered through long periods of use, but it’s solid and definable. Not in the sense that it exists on CD instead of data, but because it’s musically a complete whole with a background story, different views, sounds, textures, it commands respect and integrity as a piece of craft and workmanship, through lyrical depth and complex pieces of noise and notes.

    NOTHER IMPORTANT BIT

    It’s because a good album has a level of integrity like this that sitting down and listening to it – REALLY listening to it – That means not typing, not reading, not eating, not fucking, not making warhammer, whatever – Is difficult and demanding. This is why people who CAN talk about music find it incredibly difficult to talk to people Can’t- Because the difference is they’ve emotionally invested themselves in the music they listen to, and are enriched and rewarded by it, instead of just having some nice noise in the background. People will get angry about music and defend the music they like to the freaking death if they like it enough, because they’ll have spent the life and effort listening to it and actaully understanding how it works – hence teenage metalheads armed with stupid hair and guitars, to classical listeners who can hear the mathematical perfection in Bach.

    People who buy DRM’d music fall into two categories:

    1) People who buy mainstream shite because it sounds good in the background. I call this “Audio wallpaper”. These people will say “I like a bit of everything really” but can’t actaully specify any preference or why they like it. They buy stuff thats at the counter, sometimes.

    2) People who actaully listen to music. These are the people you see in music stores with excessive piercings and mascara/huge sneakers/stupid sunglasses/bob marley shirts/uncombed beards, who can talk about it and will wax lyrical about their favourite band/song/artist. They will happily spend several hours in a store at a time being indecisive.

    People who listen to music channels are People from group 1). Generally, people from category 2) Do Read Books. It’s all down to apathy and confidence in ones taste.

    I wouldn’t get a single track of an album on impulse online if I didn’t plan to either buy/notbuy the complete album based on 2 or 3 downloads. If I like it, I buy the complete thing, if not, I wear it out and leave it lost in my iTunes like a pair of discarded sneakers around the house. A musical track is a use-until-broken-then-discard item but a good album is a treasure.

    Another problem with single tracks downloaded when heard elsewhere and put into playlists is that there’s no room to build a coherent musical experience. I’ve found as a listener that I get very set into my playlists- If somone fucks up my itunes by hitting the list in order of whatever instead of being in the order I added them, there will be hell to pay. As I classify my music to source, like, Music Blog, Internets Meme, Audiohijacked, whatever, I get very disjointed, seemingly random playlists that have got ingrained through months of listening. So one second I have Frankie Valli and the four seasons, followed by the Tetris theme remix. An album has to follow through musically the same way a good mixtape or playlist will, in terms of mood and coherency of instruments used, so it doesn’t sound fucked up, or fuck with your head like my playlists do to mine. The changes in music genre are so abrupt that they become expected, and if I hear the same song elsewhere without my playlists song following on, my head will mess up. Albums and playlists which follow coherently Don’t Do This, because there’s no nasty surprises.

    DRM pisses me off, too. I own my music.

    But anyway: You’ve persevered this far, so I’ll give you some final advice.

    Buy a stereo that can deliver quality sound, or possibly a vinyl player.

    Find a CD or Vinyl you want to listen too. If you can’t think of anything, or any preference for any genre, get Year Zero.

    Trust me- It’s really good, and you will feel very very calm after hearing it out all the way through. Which will take off the edge of spending so much on a stereo, and the terror of having to listen to an album. ( I get it all the time, dw).

    Put the CD on. Force yourself to spend AT LEAST A MINUTE listening to each track. LISTENING.

    Go do whatever, then do it again. It’ll be easier.

    Then when your feeling calm enough, make a cup of your preferred beverage, take a lay down and listen to the album completely, skipping any tracks which really piss you off for any notable reason (Eg, there’s one I hate in Kanye Wests latest album, because it’s a cliched as fuck, boring, aggressive track called “Drunk and hot girls” which totally goes against the introspective, calm grain of the album Graduation. Just so you know everyone does that).

    You’ll feel better after. Or at least, different. And you’ll start forming opinions without realising. And then start being able to talk about music. Soon enough, listening to music and appreciating in instead of Audio Wallpapering will be as natural as breathing.

    Good Luck!

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  16. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @Mack: Very interesting! I never really looked at it this way. I do admit that I mostly view music as nice background noise rather than anything else. I do get the whole “album is an artistic form of expression” thing though. I guess I just never found an album which would move me.

    It could be because I thrive on intellectual rather than emotional stimulation. I enjoy concepts and stories and ideas. Even when I’m in idle mode listening to music my mind wonders doing other things – world building, creating random bits of storyline to be used in a future RPG campaign or a short story that I’ll probably never write and etc. So even when I’m “just listening” I’m not really concentrating on the music – it acts as a background.

    But perhaps I should try to find an album I could enjoy the way you describe. :)

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  17. astine UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    People will get angry about music and defend the music they like to the freaking death if they like it enough, because they’ll have spent the life and effort listening to it and actaully understanding how it works

    They’re like Gentoo users!

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  18. James Heaver UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @mack
    Deltron 3030 is a fantastic album, @luke – may well be worth a go, as a concept album it has a much clearer narrative and story to it. It should be considered closer to a short story, musical or opera than an album.
    You may find this more /engaging/ (whether positive or negative) than an album of individual songs.

    Incidentally, I mostly listen to my music on shuffle, but have had to take deltron 3030 out of the mix because I just can’t listen to them as individual songs. Its not that I miss the whole album as such, the songs just annoy me as singles.

    A random bit of trivia, which isn’t particularly related, but came to mind – David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album was originally intended to be a musical adaption of Geroge Orwell’s 1984, but he was never given the rights. Instead he wrote Diamond Dogs, so although more of a nromal album, than narrative there is a clear structure to it.

    To be honest, Luke, I can’t understand your relationship with music.
    You don’t have to be a great music geek, you don’t have to have a coherant musical taste in terms of genre (I most definately do not, I listen to Merzbow right next to Nancy Sinatra) – but having never made a real connection to music is, to me, like saying that you’ve never engaged with a book, a play, a film, an anime etc etc.

    You don’t have to be a great theatre goer – but you should have atleast found one play that you’ve connected with – even if it /is/ negatively.

    I think that you should set yoruself the task, and invest some time in engaging with an album (as @mack as suggested, although I’ve never tried his technique). It can be like learning shakespear at school – it may be a pain in the arse to begin with – trying to understand the archaic language – but as soon as it *clicks* then you will always have an ear for it. Even if you don’t end up being a shakespear fan, atleast you will know that you have experienced it properly and made an informed decision on it.

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  19. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    @James Heaver: Well, it’s not that I haven’t “connected” with music. I do think there are songs which are significant to me at some level or another – for example triggering certain memories and etc.. You know – just not for the whole album.

    And it’s also not that I’m looking for narrative in music. I was just commenting that music tends to lack it – and if it has it, it is not really the type of thing I’m attracted to. I can get the more cerebral kind stimulation from literature and them moving pictures on the TV. With music, I think I’m looking for more of an instant gratification thing. I can’t really quantify why I like some songs and not the others.

    Still, I don’t actually crave that stimulation. Truth be told though, I could live without music. Some people say they could not do that but I think I’d be fine. Sometimes I go weeks without actually firing up my music player, or turning on the radio in the car. I do not own stereo equipment or an mp3 player. Is it ignorance? I don’t know. Perhaps it is. Maybe I should work on it….

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  20. Mack UNITED KINGDOM Safari Mac OS says:

    Well, the level of cerebral effort you need to listen to the music properly depends on the music itself. So, stuff like Britney Spears or Madonna is fine to have on in the background, the Soundtrack to War of the Worlds will jump out at you and throw your concentration, insisting on attention. How much you get out the music depends on how much there is to get, as well as the amount of time invested in it.

    “I enjoy concepts and stories and ideas” Which is, well, pretty much what concept albums are built on. Musically, lyrically, and in terms of story. I find it pretty difficult to understand how if an album has a narrative, it won’t be the sort of thing you’ll be into, when music without a coherent emotional or conceptual narrative is generally much weaker in terms of intellectual content.

    I recommend stuff which is difficult listening. If you really connect with a piece of music, chances are you might be able to physically feel it. If I play an incredible piece of music that I’ve heard a hundred times before for the first time in a long while, chances are it’ll sneak up on me when I start listening to how the piece is put together, and I’ll begin a pins-and-needles sensation throughout my chest and forearms.

    Why don’t you break out the Half Life 2 soundtrack? It’s pretty much as close to a doomed soul as you can get, musically. Skip the ambedient stuff and put on dangerously aggressively and terrifying tracks like CP Violation, Requiem for Ravenholm, Apprehension and Evasion (and easy one to get into), LG Orbifold, Kaon, You’re not supposed to be Here, and Particle Ghost, for starters. They rarely crest the 2 minute mark but they’re intensely engaging, especially after not really listening to it In-Game.

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  21. jambarama UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I haven’t read all the comments (awfully long!) but I enjoyed the article. I think you’ll like this one title 25 arguments for elimination of copy protection. They’re mostly just examples of where copy protection bites legit consumers, but still very interesting.

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  22. Mack UNITED KINGDOM Safari Mac OS says:

    Lolol Awfully Long

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  23. vacri AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Mack, I am thoroughly unsurprised you posted that drivel from an Apple.

    I think your attempt to entice people into listening to music in a new way is great, but your “there’s only one real way to use music, the rest of you are plebians” is wrong, snobby and elitist.

    Also, if you’ve never heard great despairing ‘hits’ on the radio, you’re either not listening to non-mainstream radio, or it just doesn’t exist where you are. There are alternative and public radio stations where I am that often have ‘hits’ with downbeat and despairing music.

    The ironic thing is that in your rant against pigeonholing music, you just stick it in another pigeonhole.

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  24. vacri AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Debian GNU/Linux says:

    Perhaps an example to illustrate -

    A while back I was having dinner with a few people who were wine aficionados, discussing the various wines on offer in quite reasonable depth. When the conversation turned to me, I tried to bow out saying that I was a beer man, I knew nothing about the complexities of wine, just what I liked.

    Their response was basically that’s all that’s important. It doesn’t matter whether you know the most intimate details and feel it with your soul, it just matters whether you enjoy it or not. Let your interest in a subject find it’s own level, although it’s worth giving it a prod. Looking down on someone else for using something in a way different to you is just elitist.

    A readily apparent example is the way techy people tend to look down on myspace users. I hate myspace. I hate Facebook. I won’t use either of them. But I’m not going to look down on the people who enjoy using them simply because I don’t like using the web that way – they’re not using the web ‘wrong’.

    To Luke and his first paragraph of the article: Enjoy the music you enjoy. Take Mack’s advice and try listening to music in a new way. If it grabs you, it grabs you. But don’t take any notice of people who groan at your ‘unsophistication’ if that’s what you enjoy. It’s a bit like those people who think that every time you have sex it has to be a long drawn-out ‘making love’ experience. Don’t limit yourself, try new things, but don’t admonish yourself if you don’t actually like what others do.

    If overbearing teen angst movies have taught us anything – and they have! – it’s ‘be yourself’ :)

    Secret to everything (including MMOs as you have found out :) is to stop doing at the point where you no longer enjoy it. Of course, that can be hard with respect to work… :)

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