Yahoo! Music Store closes…taking the keys with it

As reported in Ars Technica, customers who bought digitally restricted media (DRM) from Yahoo! Music Store will lose the technical ability to play the music they lawfully acquired.

As Corey Doctorow has been teaching for years:

1. That DRM systems don’t work

2. That DRM systems are bad for society

3. That DRM systems are bad for business

4. That DRM systems are bad for artists

5. That DRM is a bad business-move for [in this case, MSFT]

But his lecture applied equally to AAPL, and YHOO.  But as Upton Sinclair said many years ago “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it,” and all these technology companies seem to believe that their paychecks depend DRM, whether practical, whether beneficial, whether profitable, whether fair, either in the general or in the particular.

But maybe this is a failure we can all learn from.  As long as the consuming public is ignorant as to the consequences of their actions, what cause have they to behave any differently?  Perhaps now that insult has become injury, more people will think twice about whether they really want to spend money on a right that can vanish with a shift of the economic winds. Perhaps they will reconsider the logic of a system which, after a finite time makes things less accessible to them instead of what the US Constitution promises, which is to shift the rights to the public after a limited time.

Slow Food makes its way to the table

The objective of Fast Food, it seems, is to maximize short-term profits.  The eater profited by “wasting” as little time as possible eating, and the producer profited by sourcing the cheapest possible ingredients from the global economy, assembling those ingredients as rapidly and mechanically as possible, without regards to any externalities (such as the health of the eater, the quality of the food, the fairness to the farmer, and especially without regard to the environmental costs of the endeavor).  By contrast, the the objective of Slow Food is to create food that is good (pleasurable to eat), clean (healthy and regenerative to the environment), and fair (to farmers, chefs, and all who bring the food to the table).  Good, clean, and fair create a new triple bottom line for measuring the quality of food, and as the New York Times now reports, locally grown food is becoming de rigeur among the trend-setters.

“What I’m seeing with my clients is not the trendiness or the politics,” [chef] Mr. Welch said. “They are looking only at taste.”

Mrs. Howard said she ate local vegetables growing up in northern Michigan and Chicago. But her husband, a private equity fund manager, ate a lot of expensive imported food with little thought about where it came from. But all that has changed.

“It’s like the first time you start drinking good red wine and you realize what you were drinking was so bad you can’t go back to it,” Mrs. Howard said. “It’s that same way with vegetables.”

If a hedge fund manager can get this excited about vegetables, what might the future hold for music that is good (pleasurable to listen to), clean (faithfully recorded and produced), and fair (to the musicians, engineers, and all who bring the music to the listener)?

Continue reading “Slow Food makes its way to the table”

The Music Lesson

The Music Lesson (2006 Cover)

Last week Lyle Estill was scheduled to give a reading at Quail Ridge Books and I was asked to introduce him.  After his reading, which was excellent, and the questions, which were semi-interesting, he set himself to signing books for the 30+ people who came to hear him that evening.  And, being in one of the best real, local bookstores, I set myself to browsing.  I wandered over to the Music section, and was stunned to see that one of my favorite bass players, Victor Wooten, had written a book called The Music Lesson.  I cracked it to a random page, read the passage that said

“Sharing is on e of the most important tools needed for personal growth,” he once told me, also stating that many people never come to understand that point.  He said that many of us try to hoard our knowledge in order to stay ahead of everyone else.  I understood that completely because I used to use the same method.


I had a trip to Oregon coming up, and I realized that with this book, I could be spending time with my man Victor.  Do you want to know what it was like?

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Music: Food for the Soul?

Another article by Robert Frank confirms that the most desirable purchase these days is not a thing, but an experience (a memorable meal to be precise). What’s up with that?

For data, Frank provides that:

A new study by American Express of their U.K. Centurion card holders (read: titanium-toting super-rich) found that “self-fullillment and learning” is the second-most-important priority for high-end vacationers. Number one was “value for money.”

Continue reading “Music: Food for the Soul?”