My latest Guardian column, "Streaming will never stop downloading," argues against the idea that streaming can "solve the copyright problem" because "no copies are made." This is technically untrue, and the more we pretend it isn't, the worse it will get for us.
First of all, while streaming music from Last.fm is a great way to listen to music you haven't discovered yet, there's no reason to believe that people will lose the urge to collect music.
Streaming will never stop downloading
Indeed, the record industry seems to have forgotten the lesson of 70 years' worth of radio: people who hear songs they like often go on to acquire those songs for their personal collections. It's amazing to hear record industry executives deny that this will be the case, especially given that this was the dominant sales strategy for their industry for most of a century. Collecting is easier than it has ever been: you can store more music in less space and organise it more readily than ever before.
People will go on using streaming services, of course. They may even pay for them. But people will also go on downloading. Streaming won't decrease downloading. If streaming is successful - that is, if it succeeds in making music more important to more people - then downloading will increase too. With that increase will come a concomitant increase in Big Content's attacks on the privacy and due process rights of internet users, which, these days, is pretty much everyone.
If you want to solve the "downloading problem" you can't do it by waving your hands and declaring that a totally speculative, historically unprecedented shift in user behaviour - less downloading - will spontaneously arise through the good offices of Last.fm.
The public bathroom at Beijing’s Temple of Heaven Park now has a toilet paper dispenser outfitted with a camera and facial recognition technology to prevent toilet paper theft. From the New York Times: Before entering restrooms in the park, visitors must now stare into a computer mounted on the wall for three seconds before a […]
Poking a golden tortoise beetle (“goldbug”) triggers the insect’s color to change from gold to a red-orange. Inspired by the natural system underlying that insectoid superpower, MIT researchers have developed flexible sensors circuits that can be 3-D printed. Eventually, the technology could lead to sensor-laden skin for robots. From MIT News: “In nature, networks of […]
MNTNT’s Albert Clock is a clock that presents the hours and minutes as simple math problems. Is it annoying or engaging? Or…. both! In standard mode, the queries change every minute. They are completely random, so even the query for the hours change, even if the result stays the same. You can speed up this […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, […]
Custom coffee vessels are the perfect piece of office flair, but it’s just a matter of time before your VOTE FOR PEDRO mug will start to lose its relevant wit. Why not have a new one every day, with whatever silly nonsense you want sticking off the sides? You can save big on your novelty […]