Why the music industry has to set music to expire in order to survive

A strange and wacko idea just came over me while doing the dishes, while I was listening to music on my iPod Shuffle. Let me bounce it of your screen, and please do react with your own point of view.

In a few years time, the music industry must have completed their change of distributing music to either a ‘pay as you listen to all you want’ scheme or a ‘DRM-protected’ scheme or even a time-expiration scheme for them to survive. So what’s new you say ? They’re already trying to do that. But have you considered the reason why they want to do this ?

Well, here’s the twist I thought of : think of father and mother and children (and why not, then the grandchildren), all able to listen to music that’s as pristine as the day it was bought, wether yesterday or 10 years ago.

Heck, those songs will still be playing fine a hundred years from now !

In a few years, when the next generation of music lovers has grown up, imagine what will happen when those youngsters discover music : they have a library of music from their parents to draw on. And it won’t be sitting on a dusty old LP or tape cassette, like it did when I was a kid, no, it’ll be on the parents multimedia house server. And since it’s a digital copy, and as long as it’s unprotected, it’ll never ever become scratchy from much listening like those LP’s of mine did or lock itself up due to maximum number of times played.

I wonder if the music industry people are aware of this, and that this is the long-term plan behind their attempts to stop file-sharing and enabling DRM on all music. Or they could be obnoxious bone-headed morons protecting their profits, either way works I suppose.

Let me give you an example of how much music we’re talking about :
I’m not a very big music lover, but still, up to now in my life I have bought about 170 music CD’s. Say, 10 songs per Cd, that makes 1700 songs. Nowadays I don’t buy much CD’s anymore, but I do buy between 5 and 10 songs per month from the iTunes music shop (must ….control…. buying….impulse….). Say 7, that makes 84 songs per year at a minimum.
And yes, I do burn those iTunes songs to cd for backup, so that I can listen to in the car, but that also means they are DRM-unprotected. I can put them on another pc, or on a multimedia system.

If I extropalate those figures to the next 10 years, I’ll have about 2 800 songs, and that’s just for me. I believe I’m not a big music buyer. Now imagine a family with 2 teenagers, all music lovers. If they all buy music, similar to my way of buying, they’ll have about 11 200 songs to share between them in 10 years. I think that’s quite a lot of music.

Let’s assume that they are careful, and back it all up to cd/dvd and re-import or copy it into their house media system. What will prevent those teenagers, when they move out to college or get married, from bringing a digital copy of that music with them ? After all, they listened to it when they grew up, probably bought many a song, so they view it as a part of their lives. Do you really think they will buy a new copy of their favourite music because they moved out of their parents house ? I don’t think so.

What about those children’s children ? They’ll have a gargantuan music library to build on, all based on the music their family predecessors bought, and it has cost them nothing. Nada. Zilch. Will they go on buying music at the same rate ?

Sure, we all buy new music from time to time, but my feeling is that, if you already have a 100 000 songs in your library, you can probably find one to your liking in their as wel.