Prince released his 35th album last week. Most fans had to wait until yesterday to hear it though.
Thankfully the album is now on Amazon digital and iTunes. You can get the CD as well. If you wanted to hear the album between then and now you needed a subscription to TIDAL.
TIDAL is a rather new music streaming service that is co-owned by the (mostly big) artists and streaming in loss-less FLAC format. This sounds like a great idea. But here’s the rub. They don’t want people downloading and storing the sound files on their own devices. With this model you never get to own a copy of the music. You can only listen through the streaming application. If you stop paying the premiums to use the service, the music is made unavailable to you.
I personally would like the option to own a copy of the song in some kind of format that I store myself. We have thousands of CDs here at BangWave Studios. Furthermore, We often burn backup copies of the music first downloaded from Amazon or iTunes. One thing I like about Amazon is that they keep copies of your purchases in a cloud server. If you lose a song file for some reason you can always recover it from the cloud.
The right to own your own digital copy stored on your own device is now technically illegal in the UK. The United Kingdom’s High Court ruled last month that copying music from your personal CD collection to iTunes violates copyright law. Not only that the law also makes it a crime to back up your music to an external device or cloud storage service like Amazon.
It would seem that only TIDAL is legal? Is YouTube still legal in the UK?
YouTube is owned by Google and they are simply horrible to musicians, both financially and culturally. I can’t understand how Google has not lost a big class action lawsuit sponsored by the RIAA. If sharing files on Napster is a crime, how can YouTube be legal?
Both YouTube and SoundClound have started attempting to pay out to artists but it is really only a minimal effort. It reminds me of tipping the waitress a penny just to be a smart ass.
Apple is going to end up in a British court to defend iTunes, because it seems to very clearly violate the new law. There is a day of reckoning coming for many of these services that facilitate access to copyrighted material without paying something amicable to the owner of the work.
I tend to take a middle of the road view on the issue. While I think YouTube is screwing the artists, I also think that TIDAL screws the fans. I find it disturbing that this model is supported by the recent changes in UK Law. Whatever happens, PLEASE LETS KEEP THE CD. In fact, anyone that no longer wants to hold on to a CD collection should contact us. We will gladly take them off your hands!
[ OP/ED by Alex Velocity ]