>> January 14, 2020
>> Blog Post #10
I had a few pints of stout at the pub with a
good friend of mine yesterday. It was really nice to catch up as we probably
see each other every other year now and live on separate continents. As we gave
each other a quick rundown of what had been going on in our respective lives
over the last two years he said something that surprised me.
“Of all the people I know, you were the last
one to continue to buy CDs”
I paused a second, out of surprise, smiled and
we continued with our conversation, which actually didn’t have anything to do
with ownership, or property but rather art.
Today, as I was taking my daily stroll in the woods
and across the countryside, the thought just crossed my mind again. On a side
note, I’ll probably have to write something at some point about the benefits I have
found personally in taking a walk every day. Things really happen in your mind,
when nothing seems to be happening.
So, what was it that struck me? It wasn’t so
much the content, as I immediately felt that the statement was probably true.
It did carry the warmth that comes with the feeling that you are talking to a
good friend, the kind that probably knows the most trivial details about you – or
embarrassing stuff. No, what I think made me pause, was that I took a second to
analyze an old behavior through a different set of eyes.
I know for a fact that I kept buying CDs way
after most people stopped doing so. I’d then burn them so I could also have
them on a computer and transfer them on all sorts of electronic devices. That includes
minidiscs if you’ve ever heard of those.
The reason I bought CDs was a mix of liking the
object and enjoying unwrapping it, looking at the artwork inside, etc. I also had
doubts about the quality of MP3s at first, or about the durability of digital
objects and I enjoyed property of the media and the content.
Streaming came later, as an obvious service that
extended a deep trend in society to stop owning stuff and just pay for service
as you go. I’ve never used a streaming platform or actually I’ve never paid for
one. And I probably never will as long as there are available alternatives to
purchase music and own it once and for all.
I think continuing to buy CDs was the first
sign that for certain things that mattered to me, I would strongly refuse to
rent them. Why pay a tenth of a cent every time I listen to my favorite album
for all of eternity while I could pay more, once, but never have to worry about
it again? My hunch was that if I did the math, renting would be a bad deal. Obviously,
I am very conscious that no one else in the universe still listens to full
albums, but hey, what can I do about that?
But there is something else to it.
It has to do with the nature of what often falls
under intellectual property laws.
Pick your favorite song and think about how
much you love it. You should be able to hum it, since it’s your favorite song. You
know it by heart. There are no new surprises in it. Thinking about it probably
makes you want to listen to it right now.
By owning it, you can, whenever you want. By
not ever owning the media that stores it whatever that media is, you will
remain at the mercy of people who will be willing to lend it to you for a
I don’t want the rights of the music. I want to
own the right to exercise the experience of feeling love for “knowledge” I already
possess. I already know the song. I already know I love the song. There is no
novelty, just the right to experience a feeling that is mine, that belongs to
no one else, including whoever wrote or interpreted the song. I will not become
your recurring paying customer for it if I can purchase it once, compensating
the creator and all the people who made it happen until I took possession of
So, in a way, this is an example of how I naturally
took ownership of things that mattered very much to me years ago. Buy the CDs,
make backups, don’t scratch them, keep them clean, and ordered etc.….
That ownership and responsibility wasn’t much
of an effort at all, because I knew why I was doing it and how much those CDs
meant to me.
These days I’m taking ownership and responsibility
for other things, but you might guess where this is heading next 😉