Finetune (http://www.finetune.com) used to be my favorite music streaming site. I used Pandora and Last.fm, but what I liked about Finetune was the ability to create actual playlists. I can create stations on Pandora that will play favorite bands, and songs from bands ‘similar’ to my pick, but my experience was I would get a good Dave Matthews band song, and then 20 terrible songs. Same with Last.fm. With Finetune, I could create a playlist of songs I wanted, approximately 45, and it would only play those songs. Great! The music I wanted when I wanted it.
So, like all things related to greed, I visited the other day to create a new playlist, and that functionality was gone. Same with my ability to edit existing playlists. Gone….all gone. I felt like Ralphie in The Christmas Story. The Bumpus’ dogs (RIAA) ate the Christmas turkey (any common-sense way to listen to music). We hear Lawrence Lessig (http://www.lessig.org/blog/) talk about ‘the future of ideas,’ and it makes no sense to see us move backward. Sure, throw some ads in between, or after every 3rd song. I have no problem with the need to make revenue. But to totally abandon this type of structure makes no sense. So back to getting stuck in obscure, and really low talent music, waiting, patiently for that one that I’ve heard of. This is nothing new. The record companies have been doing this for years. When you bought cds, how many songs were actually worth something? Two or three? Now, unless it is a favorite band, I have a CD, I paid $15 for, to hear two songs. Which is why buying songs online one at a time appealed so much to me. Unfortunately, even that is under attack. Seems some want to strongly encourage users to buy entire cds once again. Can you say bloated profits?
So in this totally random post, I just wanted to vent about some of the changes to the ‘industry.’ I think where most misinterpret the entire ‘Creative Commons/Open Source/Linux’ movement is that we want everything free as in beer. Yes, don’t get me wrong, I do like testing software to explore it before committing, and most proprietary software programs do not give you that full-functionality in their 30 day trials. But the whole thing is more about the freedom to do what we want to do with it. We are not against paying for that functionality, and that’s where many get it wrong.