Wednesday, September 17, 2014

You Downloaded, Too?

The U2 force feed via iTunes of their latest, Songs of Innocence, has been kind of humorous to read about of late. Saw something saying 33 million users had already downloaded it (for free), which sounds like a heckuva lot in terms of traditional album sales (or “sales”), but less remarkable when compared to, say, the 500 million who downloaded Candy Crush Saga last year.

The humorous part is related to people now wishing to delete the album. Apple has even developed a special site and tool for doing so.

I was writing last week about my old iPod -- the “classic” that has now been discontinued. In fact I got myself a new one, deciding I’d become attached enough to the sucker to want a replacement.

I’ve actually never had a U2 album loaded on there. I do own a couple of the old LPs, and in fact during that nostalgia tour of Live Aid I mentioned recently I stopped off to watch their performance of “Bad” which I think was probably a high point of their career and maybe Live Aid (aside from Queen, natch). I’m a huge Brian Eno fan, which gives me a tangential interest in the band, though not enough to have bothered tracking down much post-Unforgettable Fire. My comment on Dr. Pauly’s post about Rattle and Hum from last year pretty much sums up whatever else I might say about the band.

So no, I didn’t download this new one. And yes, the thought even crossed my mind that the expense of effort it would have taken to do so -- and to listen after that -- was more than I wanted to spend. Kind of a faint echo of the old model of music consumption that has been thoroughly eradicated, the one which required a more conscious and thorough decision to purchase and listen.

The offer actually made me think a little bit of downloading new online poker sites, something I haven’t done in a long while though used to do with great frequency. While I only ever played (for real money) on around a half-dozen sites, I’d guess I probably downloaded at least 15 or so over the years, maybe more. Kind of recklessly, too, given how some could be a great drain on CPU power or provide other kinds of unwanted bother to our systems.

That was early on, though. Then as the online poker era proceeded we became more wary with our “purchases” -- be it with money, time, mental energy, or anything else that mattered to us that we’d have to trade away in order to play.

Less innocent, I guess you could say.

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