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29.12.2009 10:37

Why pirating music is old-school

Yesterday, my wife asked me if I could get some songs of this new upcoming band boyce avenue. I first checked their website to see what they had to offer and wanted to listen to some samples of their songs. The first link there lead me to the iTunes store and all the albums where available there of course. I listened to a few of the samples and I have to admit that I love accustic guitars so I wanted to download some of the songs. I was just about to open another tab in firefox to see if I could get the mp3s for free somewhere when I saw the prices for the samplers in the iTunes store.

In the past (the good ol' times) I used Napster and stuff like that (like everyone else) to download music from the internet, but not because I did not want to pay for it, but because everything was readily available there, you got everything almost instantly and you didn't have to order a CD somewhere or drive to the local shop to get a copy of that - in this case, I'm not even sure if I could get CDs from them somewhere down here. I'm this kind of a person who wants to have things _IMMEDIATELY_ and don't want to wait a single day to get them, so downloading music off the internet is exactly my style.

Anyhow, after having purchased all their CDs on the iTunes store, I realized that the iTunes store is much cheaper than pirating the music off the internet. Imagine you're trying to get a full album of some band for free on the internet, what do you have to do? First, you need to know the name of the album, there's no real search function on most of these sites or P2P portals, you cannot really listen to the music _BEFORE_ you actually download it, most of the time, you don't get the covers, etc. So even if you are able to find the album immediately, download speed often varies and downloading a full album with about 20 tracks can take up to a few days if the album isn't popular enough. Then, when you finally have it, you need to verify that the tracks are all normalized or at least all have the same main volume, otherwise having them all in one playlist can easily hurt your ears. Out of my experiences, most of these downloaded songs don't have proper ID3 tags and I _LOVE_ ID3 tags, because they are so great to organize your music and all my CD and MP3 players support ID3 tags, so no more "Track 01", "Track 02" and shit like this. Converting ID3 tags to CD text is also especially important when you want to listen to this music in your car and don't have a MP3 player in it (yah, my BMW is a bit old school, I'm happy that I have a working CD changer now).

Anyhow, usually you end up spending quite some time fiddling around with getting an album downloaded for free and have it available in the quality I'm used to out of the iTunes store (including ID3 tags, normalizing them, having proper file names and directory structures, CD covers, etc.), so I think I'm not exaggerating when I say that you probably need to spend about 2 hours for downloading one or two albums off the internet.

Comparing my usual hourly rates against the price of all 5 albums on the iTunes store, I actually won money by purchasing them there, because buying all the 5 albums, downloading them and spreading them over wireless LAN to all my home computers and my two iPhones consumed about 10 minutes of my precious time, no hassles included, perfect quality, wife is happy (<= priceless!).

To all the students and nonworkers out there: Please disregard this blog entry, you probably won't understand the moral of it. When time is the most important thing in your life, you will start thinking differently and probably understand a bit of what I wrote here.

To everyone interested, here's the iTunes store link for boyce avenue:
Comments added earlier to http://tuxx-home.at/archives/2009/12/29/T10_37_21/index.html:
Guest on 2009-12-29 13:59:26 wrote:
hi alex,

Sure it's easier to buy music in online store like iTunes store, but think of the prices of some albums, most albums costs at least up to 20 Euro thats a high price for someone who hasn't got any or less money.

So i understand why most of the people pirate music =)

Maybe also some or let's say most of the people pirate music because the don't know how much work it is to produce an album... and sure they want to save money :)

But i could fully agree with you I also like the ID3 Tags and my well sorted music collection. I also buy my music in online store or in the good old cd shop around the corner... (after listening to a free internet trail version *g*) :)

Guest on 2010-12-01 12:39:59 wrote:
I illegally download songs at a faster or at least equal speed than/to the Itunes store transfers. I have access to a greater selection, with BETTER search features, and standardized rip requirements. Tracks are properly named as they are on the CD, CD covers too. Not only that but I can get FLAC copies as well. So far it has never taken me longer than 5mintues from determining I want an album, to finding it in my desired format, to having it downloaded and playing through my speakers. AND THE BEST PART IS I DONT NEED TO USE ITUNES!

PS just checked out Boyce Avenue and they are so so so terrible
Guest on 2010-12-01 13:18:15 wrote:
Boyce Avenue isn't available on iTunes in the US store...
Guest on 2010-12-01 13:20:28 wrote:
oops, actually BA IS available, just not via the link in the post. My bad, never mind.
Guest on 2010-12-01 14:34:01 wrote:
You actually lost money not spending a few hours doing research on what the fastest and easiest way to illegally download music is.

From time to time I see myself buying stuff because it's too tedious to go through the effort of downloading, unrarring, cracking and all that. ( Some games are difficult to crack ) But honestly most of the times warez still win over buying this legally because it's just faster and easier to do so.

So while I see your point, I don't think you're right.
Guest on 2010-12-01 14:46:13 wrote:
"opportunity cost"
Guest on 2010-12-01 15:16:16 wrote:
looks like someone doesnt know how to use usenet.
Guest on 2010-12-01 15:23:55 wrote:
I´m using Ubuntu, so I don´t have itunes. And I couldn´t agree more with the comment #2.
Guest on 2010-12-01 16:50:31 wrote:
I think this is only a problem with you are downloading obscure music.

Also, maybe your time is worth money, but mine is not (I am a salaried worker and do not make any money on side projects). So if I spend an extra 20 minutes to download music, that is not time I would have spent actually making money. So if I spend money to do something I could have done for free but with more time/effort, I am just spending money and saving time (NOT money).

I will agree there is often a difference in the quality of the music though.
Guest on 2010-12-01 17:47:01 wrote:
uh... yeah.

kickbacks much?
Guest on 2010-12-01 21:36:24 wrote:
why search the web, when you can just search youtube and use a youtube 2 mp3 converter site.

youtube is the new pitstop for audio pirating.
Guest on 2010-12-01 22:52:39 wrote:
"When time is the most important thing in your life, you will start thinking differently and probably understand a bit of what I wrote here."

The arrogance. So I take it you're earning your hourly rate every waking hour? If so, I hope you enjoy your adult responsibility. Otherwise, this supposed analysis of opportunity cost is terribly misguided.

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