Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Censorship and CD's

Wal-Mart censors CD's. Did you know that? They will not carry CD's with parental warnings on them for naughty words. To be carried by Wal-Mart a band must release a version of the CD with all of said naughty words bleeped out or changed. This wouldn't have been an issue if Wal-Mart hadn't been the largest music seller on the planet. As such, their requirements was tantamount of large-scale censorship. For a long time, if you lived in a rural area, the only place where you could easily purchase music might have been the local Wally World. This is a textbook example of why monopolies are against the law. They are anti-consumer.

Apple finally passed Wal-Mart as the largest retailer of music in mid-2008, striking a blow for the easy dissemination of information, unadulterated by the ideology of one, retarded company. But, oh right! If we're to believe the record companies, MP3's and digital music are inherently evil! They've tried to tax blank CD's, iPods, and online music. They've sued file-sharers and companies trying to distribute digital technology legitimately. They forced digital resellers into restrictive Digital Rights Management, and had to be dragged kicking and screaming, into the 21st century by Apple and iTunes.

But! You might say, what I'm actually arguing for is digital selling, not piracy. Piracy is still bad! I would counter, telling you to think back to the late 1990's, when the nascent market of MP3 players was driven because of piracy. The only people buying those crap players were geeks known as alpha consumers. They drove adoption of the format because of services like Napster and Morpheus (remember them?!) making it easy to access music. For most people, it was a pain in the ass to rip CD's and then transfer the music to a player. Apple realized this. Why do you think that they released iTunes and iPods concomitantly? The integrated, easy access to already digital music was the key element of the player.

But that disregards the fact that the MP3 industry was at the point that it was because of piracy. It's a perfect example of how it wasn't bad. It was simply the advancement of technology and the market. Trying to fight it was blatantly wrong even back in the early 2000's, and the rash of bankruptcies in the record industry, while companies like Apple continue their meteoric rise, is proof of that.

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