Thursday, November 20, 2008

Comparing value for your entertainment dollar

$20 gets you a movie - up to 2 hours of solid entertainment, with extras. If it's good content, you may even watch it a few times, in the comfort of your own home. Maybe trade with friends. Bottom line, it's good value for the money. (Which is why I don't have a problem paying for them)

Or, $20 gets you a music CD - around 40 minutes of music. Typically it's a few good songs (if you're lucky), with mostly filler. No extras. No videos. No interviews. No commentary. No behind the scenes peek at how the album was made. Bottom line, it's not such good value for the money. (Which is why I do have a problem paying for them)

Or, $20 gets you 20 songs online in digital format. 20 songs that are unrelated to each other - songs you actually want / like. Here's the kicker - they're in compressed format. They're not exactly the quality of the original, uncompressed format you'd find on a CD. I'll generalize a bit here, but mp3 music files are roughly 50% to 80% of the quality of the original material. So if I'm paying about a dollar a song for full, uncompressed quality, why would I want to pay the same for a sub-par copy? $0.99 is not good value for an mp3 in my world.

Enter Magnatunes. If you sign up for their all-you-can-eat membership, as little as $10 per month (on a month to month membership) will grant you access to unlimited downloads of their catalog, which contains high quality mp3s with no evil DRM and a Creative Commons license. They don't mind if you share an album a month with a friend. They give 50% of the fees they collect directly to the musicians.

Their collection may not contain big label artists, but there's a whole other world of music out there than the ones that got signed to big labels. The best part - you can listen to the product you're considering before you buy it! Heck, if all you want to do is stream music to your computer, it doesn't cost a cent, as long as you don't mind the announcer's voice.

This is value for money unheard of for music until now. I hope it catches on, I hope the musicians that are a part of it do so well, that big label artists begin to see the light, putting an end to the archaic business model of the current big name commercial music industry.

No comments: