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Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

Stupid, immoral, or just weird?


So I’m pleased with myself because I’ve figured out how record music as it plays on my computer.

Now, I’d be more pleased if I could have figured out how to configure Windows to do this, for free, as is supposed to be possible. But after the simple instructions failed, and then I tried more complicated instructions which also failed, and eventually ended up in the Windows Registry and it was 1:00 in the morning and I still wasn’t recording…

I realized this was insane. So before I blew up the computer, I bought some inexpensive software to do this. Very simple; works great. Anything I play on the computer, I can now convert to MP3 (and other formats).

I wanted this for things like:

This, my husband informed, makes me a thief. Even though I pointed out that none of these things seemed to be available for sale. He said that the artists should still paid for their work, and I said, well, I’m sure they were paid for their original work and now their stuff is sitting on the Internet for free listening and what difference does it make if I listen on my computer or my iPod? (And actually the argument went on much longer and grew progressively ridiculous, so I’ll spare you.)

But it did make me think that, however I get my music now—and I use many means—someone seems to thinks it’s either stupid, or immoral, or just plain weird.

You buy music? [stupid]

Most commonly expressed by those under 30, who like to point out that everything is available for free on the Internet. I don’t know how immoral it is to never pay for music, but it’s at least kind of tacky.

You buy music from iTunes? [stupid]

Boy do, some people have issues with iTunes! That it’s too expensive, that everything is DRM, that it chains you to your iPod. But expensive is relative, the DRM thing is now history, and as for chaining you to your iPod; well, I’ve never figured that was so hard to get around. For example, I can just play whatever in iTunes on my computer, and make an MP3 copy of it using my handy new software! Voila, no more ties to Apple.

You still buy CDs? [weird. and possibly stupid]

Amazement that I still acquire some music little plastic disks, which clutter up your life. Especially since the first thing you do is convert it for the iPod anyway.

Now, I used to say all those CDS were my iTunes backup; but now started backing up my library to DVD. Or, that I liked the packaging—but I don’t really refer to the CD case, within its tiny print and sad little cover picture, all that often. Because I still buy CDs because of:

  • Price (since I often get them used).
  • Better sound quality. Compressing things for your iPod means dropping notes from your songs. I’m no audiophile, but CDs do sound richer.
  • Convenience—at least in my car, where the CD player is better integrated than the iPod.

As for clutter, my neatly organized CDs, all stashed away in cabinets in alphabetical order by artist, then by release date, are really the least of my problems there. But it brings me to…

You still buy albums? [weird]

This is, as opposed to just songs. Of course, it’s wonderful to now be able to just get songs so easily, but yes, I still get albums too. Because…

  • Classic albums like Dark Side of the Moon and Who Sell Out, which have a whole thematic that builds, can only be experienced by listening to the entire album. In order.
  • Some artists are so great in concert, I just assume I’ll like the whole album too. With a band like Swing, I was completely right—with both their albums. Which I’ve since bought more of, to give to other people.
  • Soundtracks, which may not count, since they are just a random collection of songs. Though something like the Trainspotting or Shortbus soundtracks have overarching sound to them that make them a great playlist in themselves.
  • Reliable artists like Ray Davies, Alanis Morisette (Flavors of Entanglement is great), Bob Geldof… They put out a new album, I’m probably going to get it.

And more ways…

  • [immoral?] Extracting it from music DVDs—I have software for that, too. And I’m pretty sure it’s just another copy for personal use. I’m just thrilled that the mostly useless online help (“the filter pass setting sets the filter pass”) actually contained the one precise piece of information I needed to make the extracted songs stop “crackling”. Was driving me nuts.
  • [immoral?] Borrowing it from friends or family—Yet everyone seems to think this is just a nice thing to do, not immoral at all. Most will gladly make a copy for you.
  • [stupid?] Downloading it, not from a bittorrent, but from a “file sharing” location posted by someone on a Kinks mailing list. Which, I’m sure, is somewhat stupid. But I do have virus software, and all seems well since I did it, and it is a truly fantastic collections of Kinks songs. “The Fan Box Set” Anyone want to borrow it? 🙂

3 thoughts on “Stupid, immoral, or just weird?

  1. We mostly still buy CDs – esp. of artists we really like, such as Radiohead, Coldplay, Gomez, etc. It’s mostly newer stuff we’re not that familiar with that will just download first to see if we like them.

    I don’t know if you know of It’s a Canadian online music store that specialises in independent stuff (not just Canadian, but you’ll find a lot of smaller Canadian bands and artists listed with them). Their prices are really reasonable – $8.88 for albums. They frequently have 2 for 1 sales – esp. around Canada Day. They also make a sampler playlist every week (i think it’s every week) of newer artists that you can download for free to see if you might like some of them. Worth checking out. For example, if you like Feist (and who doesn’t LOVE Feist?!) try Jenn Grant. She’s from PEI, sounds very similar to Feist, and is just very good.

    • Glad to know I’m not the only one buying CDs! Thanks for the tip about zunior, which I haven’t tried. Sounds like a good way to discover new bands.

      • I just double checked and their music sampler comes out every 2 weeks. Anyway, point is, it’s a free way to test out new independent artists. And if you’re interested in trying out Jenn Grant, let me know – we can probably post her Orchestra for the Moon album on our webspace for you to download.

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