Friday, 4 May 2007

Pandora's boxed

So farewell, then, Pandora. For those of us not in the US, at any rate. For so-called "licensing reasons" they've pulled all access for anyone not in the USA, with many expressions of regret blahdeblah. They say they hope they'll be back soon. As this story makes clear, that's way too optimistic even to be described as a forlorn hope.

I've written about Pandora before, and so has Jeff.

The rights holders, the people who own the copyright to the songs, have a mechanism whereby they can extract their pound of flesh in the US, but not elsewhere. May they rot in fucking hell for their stupidity in not realising the huge amount of free (paid!) publicity Pandora was giving them. I can't have been the only person who thought, hmm, I like kd lang, who else might I like? Then create a kd lang station on Pandora which would feed me music they've determined to be pleasing to fans of kd lang.

Which people would then GO OUT AND BUY. Hello? Music I'd never heard of, by artists unfamiliar to me, otherwise I wouldn't have needed to wonder, right?

What shall I do now? How to decide? Well, I won't, will I? I'm not about to spend €20 or so on a gamble. I'll stick to what I know, thanks. I probably won't buy anything. It'll be okay. Or I'll borrow CDs from the public library and rip them to iTunes, for 50 cents a disc. Big money in that for the rights-holders, I'm sure.

So who cares? I'm an old fart. I may have the money to buy CDs, but I don't have much of an inclination really, other than from time to time. My kids have plenty of inclination, though. I've showed them how to use Pandora to explore what there is out there, instead of just being guided by the latest classroom fad.

Well, they won't be exploring much any more, either. No more money spent on lesser-known artists, just copy the CDs everyone else has (what's the point of buying them if your friend already owns it?) and leave it at that.

I wish Pandora well, because it was a great idea, and I hope the US alone is enough to sustain them. No reason why it shouldn't be. I wish the record industry further, continuing and in the end inevitable collapse. They took the fatted calf that lays the golden eggs and tried to milk her dry. But you can only get so much blood out of a stone. This is yet another move that will drive the consumer away from "legitimate sources". Whatever happens now, the industry brought it on itself.

For the record, there's no-one quite like kd lang. She has a genome all of her own.

UPDATE: Lifehacker had a link to an article on how to bypass the ban by the use of proxies. I tried it and got onto the Pandora site, but was unable to get any music flowing. I'll try again later and see if things work any better.