Musings on Music

While walking down to get lunch, my mind was wandering. Our vanpool has a system to reward those who choose to drive: those not driving on a particular day contribute to a “bonus fund” that results in drivers periodically getting a negotiable green piece of paper every few months. I typically use this instrument to purchase CDs at Amazon. But now I have an iPod, so the question running through my head was: Buy the CD of an album or download the album.

Depending on the cost of the individual songs, it may be cheaper to download (this may be less so for a musical, which sometimes have lots of songs). But as I see it, the CD also provides you with the following: (a) Cover art and the CD booklet; (b) the right to copy the material for personal use into other forms, be that on the iPod, a cassette for use in a car, or a file for playing on the computer. (I know the recording companies dispute the latter part, but to me it clearly falls under the same fair personal use that applied to records). It doesn’t provide you the right to make the CD available for sharing, or to loan it to a friend so they can copy it.

(As an aside, I’ll note that graemeperrow had some interesting musings on the subject over at cut_the_chatter)

My mind then jumped to buying used CDs on Amazon. I can see problems with this (artist doesn’t get compensated, selling user may have copied the album for personal use and retained the copy), but the general argument I could see would be that of license transfer. The problem is there is no way to ensure that copies were not made before the transfer (the same risk happens with software). But again, this problem is not new. It was present with records (LPs), and I still remember some Roger Whittaker CDs with a large “Home Taping is Killing Music” (I didn’t believe it then; I don’t believe it now).

So, what do you think?