The RIAA

In case I haven't said so before, Google Reader is fantastic. By following items my friends are sharing I often get to see an entirely different world of ideas, images, quotes and the like that had I just used a desktop aggregation I would have missed. Unfortunately this means I find so much interesting material that I end up subscribing to even more feeds and the dreaded 1000+ unread message status appears with alarming regularity!

This evening a post Big Tom shared caught my eye. The title was If I can’t listen to you… I can’t care about you. and the post itself was concise and direct. I should take classes from Fran Snyder!

I’ll make this short. There are only two reasons not to let people hear your music very easily on your website:

1. Laziness
2. Ignorance

You might as well buy a shop downtown, and never unlock the door.

Make it hard for people to hear your music. That’s a great strategy. 8^)

I agree. It's called "promotion". To be even more accurate, it's called "free promotion". Or "free advertising". Sure there may be people who would download your material and never attempt to compensate you in any way, but those kinds of people would never have bought your music in the first place so you haven't lost anything. And if such free loaders were to play said music to their friends and two ended up buying your music, well then it doesn't matter that "piracy" occurred because you're still better off!

This is why I can't stand it when I read campaigns such as the nails-on-a-blackboard awful HIP Alliance in Singapore and sensationalised news stories that claim that piracy has cost industries trillions of dollars. Such special interest groups are assuming that every single pirate who ripped off music (or movies, or computer software) would buy the material if piracy weren't an option. Even our little white fluffy dogs who can't even figure out how to climb stairs would be able to see the logical fallacy in such a proposition. I'm not Bill Kurtis.

I think Fran Snyder's blog post could also be applied to free and open source software:

I’ll make this short. There are only two reasons not to let people [see the source code for your application] very easily on your website:

1. Laziness
2. Ignorance

You might as well buy a shop downtown, and never unlock the door.

Make it hard for people to [use, adapt, share and promote your software]. That’s a great strategy. 8^)

I wonder how many independent musicians run FreeBSD, Firefox or even Ardour on their computers? Seems like a match made in heaven to me!