For my birthday, I’m deleting most of my music & movie collection.
I just turned 21. I heard that’s when you’re allowed to legally drink in the U.S. In Canada it’s 19. I’ve never been much for alcohol, and since I haven’t really felt like I wanted to buy physical objects for a while, I still haven’t bought myself a birthday present. I suppose I could have considered the humongous cake I bought as present, but cakes seem obligatory for birthdays.
When I look around my room, I feel like I already have pretty much everything I need. The things I want to consume most have become more ethereal – real world experiences, time with friends, self improvement, and media such as comics, anime, movies, games, novels, music, software.
Since I don’t plan on taking up drinking as a hobby, and I don’t plan on going on physical shopping sprees in the near future, it seems like the right time to start paying for my beloved media.
Well, if I want people to pay me for MY creations, it would be (and has been) pretty hypocritical of me to refuse to pay other artists & content creators. Eventually I want to make a good chunk of my income from selling digital products.
And really, media is one of the great loves of my life. I enjoy it a lot and it improves my life immensely. Books and movies have changed my life. I don’t mind paying for something I appreciate so much. I’m not a kid with a $20/month allowance (and a Napster/Kazaa/Limewire/Etc installation) any more.
I won’t be able to convert all of my illegal stuff at once, since I’m going to have to go through everything and figure out the best solution for each media type and what I can do without. I’m also looking forward to exploring more of the indie/free media that’s out there as an alternative. I already love reading free webcomics like Dresden Codak, and the world of free music/film remains virtually unexplored by me. I know there are bands that release tracks or whole albums for free, and web series that publish exclusively to youtube. And I’m not opposed to using those hours previously spent consuming pirated media for more creative or social pursuits.
[Source. Totally awesome comic. And it's free. Go read it!]
Here are the things I plan to eventually start paying for:
So far, I’ve never actually bought music for myself. Not once. Weird, isn’t it? I’ve never known a world without media piracy. I’m probably going to do this first since I predict it will be a fairly easy switch. Since a lot of the legal buzz has been about music, there are plenty of solutions out there. Pretty much all music is available for digital download by now.
Lately I’ve been using Grooveshark for music which I love because it streams anything instantly and I can access my account on any browser. It also lets me build up my own ‘library’ and create playlists. I like that I don’t have to use up a ton of space on my hard drive to store the music, it’s cloud based. While Grooveshark itself is technically legal, the music on it uploaded by users is not licensed, so I can’t really call it fair and square. I pretty much never listen to music on portable players any more so I would be happy to find a paid & legal version of something like Grooveshark for now. I’m also going to consider music videos on youtube fair game if the artists or music labels upload them to their own accounts.
I already make use of my local libraries for most of my books. I do sometimes pirate books if the library doesn’t have them, but when I think about it, I almost never get around to reading them if they’re on my computer. But I don’t really want to start collecting stacks of paper either – I don’t want paper, I want content, and most of the time I only read the content once. I currently don’t have a Kindle or iPad-like device, but I’m not totally against it. I’ll have to figure this one out.
[Source. Originally by Disney.]
Not gonna lie, I’m sort of cringing at this one. I suppose I could get something like Netflix to stream, but I’m pretty sure their subbed anime library is probably dismal. I might look into CrunchyRoll since it apparently licenses its content. iTunes rentals are only a few $ each so that’s not too bad, and my local library actually has a movie collection. I’ll probably end up consuming less than I currently do, caring about quality more, and (hopefully) appreciating it more.
I haven’t been playing a lot of games lately, so this is probably going to be easy. Steam makes it easy to download PC games. (I just wish it would freaking let me install them already, arrgh technical issues!) I don’t feel like I want the new generation handheld systems or consoles enough to justify shelling out for them. But if I really want to play a new console game, I can always invite myself over to my friends’ places! ;)
[Source. I own two pokémon DS cartriges, but the rest of my DS games are pirated. I know, the shame. u_u]
Wince. I’m going to have to buy Adobe Photoshop ($200 with a student license) at the very least, plus Illustrator, and I would kind of want Flash and Premiere, so I might end up shelling out as much as $500. I’ll have to think about it. I should also buy PaintToolSai because I use it so much. Luckily, Sai is cheap! Freeware for most other applications is good enough for me, and I already own a legal Windows 7 and Office.
I would like to start buying more things from artists that I really appreciate – prints, downloads, possibly other things if I like them enough. I’ve never really bought art before (unless you count art books), but I think it would be cool to start.
The more that I think about it, the more I suspect that making this shift will be pretty easy. After I get over the initial sting of the Adobe software purchase, I don’t think the rest will affect me too much. If I ever don’t have the money for movies or games, there’s always the library, or endless internet browsing, or doing something creative or physical.
Like I said, the transition won’t be instant or perfect, and there’s plenty of grey areas. What about the images I use in this post? I didn’t license them. Lots of stuff gets passed around on blogs that maybe technically shouldn’t be there. Are personal blogs a fair use case? Maybe I should only use things I draw myself. I don’t know.
What if I need certain software for a class that’s licensed at school? I would probably download it just to avoid the 3 hour commute to school to use it. What about copies of things that publishers aren’t selling any more, like Nintendo 64 games? Are those okay to download? What if I’m at a friend’s place and they want to watch an illegally procured movie? I probably wouldn’t even say anything since it would seem weird to make a big deal about it, especially since it’s something I haven’t cared about most of my life.
Even with the uncertainty, this feels like a step in the right direction overall.
Do you pay for media you consume? Why/why not?