Bitten The Apple

I’ve done it. I swore I would never do it and I’ve spent years resisting the urge to do it. Until now that is.

I have bought an iPod. An iPod Touch, to be precise (otherwise known as the iPhone without the phone).  And yes, I love it. In fact, it’s made me wonder why I didn’t get one  the moment I realised I had the money to buy one.

To be honest, I’ve not always had a high opinion of Apple’s products. The first time I came across a Macintosh was when I did work experience for a local paper when I was 15. Back then (which I should say was not that long ago), they were ugly grey things with a really basic interface and seemed difficult to use compared to the Windows 95 – powered PCs I was using at school. I then fell in love with the iMac at university – me and my friends would spend time in the computer rooms watching film trailers on them (the experience was always better on them. Alas, I was never to get the purple and white one I wanted, as I simply couldn’t afford it. Plus my sister wanted one too.

When the iPod came along, I was initially fascinated by it.  However my interest was quickly lost when I found out the price of them, not to mention the fact that songs downloaded from iTunes could only be played on them. I stuck with my Sony Discman before turning to cheap MP3 players. It was when my current Samsung one started to go on the blink that I began to consider getting an iPod.

What’s surprising is that out of all the iPods, I chose the touch. When it first came out, I thought that while it looked nice the touch screen was too gimmicky for my liking. I even wrote on  Web User Magazine‘s Facebook page that I would “stick with my bog-standard MP3 player thanks” – a remark that was later printed in the magazine itself.  But sooner or later, I had to give in.

YouTube vs the PRS – A Music Fan’s View

I’d like to start this blog entry by saying a big “well done” to the bosses of YouTube. They’ve just blocked access to music videos on its British site, thus isolating the 95% of British users who don’t want to watch the effects of Mentos in bottles of Pepsi or need to see Robert Webb’s hilarious Flashdance parody for the 550th time.

For those who’ve been living on a desert island over the last few days, YouTube are currently locked in a dispute with the Performing Rights Society (PRS), the body that represents musicians and songwriters. YouTube had a deal with the PRS, in which YouTube paid royalties every time a music video was watched on its site. In negotiating a new deal YouTube’s bosses claimed that the PRS were demanding too much money from them, while the PRS said that YouTube’s offer was substantially less than what they were paying before. In any case, it seems like the big corporations are once again holding the little people to ransom, refusing to budge until they get their way.

For those of us who like to listen to music online, this is a blow. When you consider that there are very few decent music shows on terrestrial  TV these days (with the exception of Later and Channel Four’s late night 4Music output) and the music radio and TV stations seem to play the same ten songs all day, the internet is often the only option British music fans have. YouTube gives people the chance to watch music videos when they want to as often as they like. Their current actions are limiting people’s choices, not to mention limiting the amount of exposure an artist can get.

MSN have been quick to jump on the situation by advertising the selection of music videos available on its own site.  This would be fine were it not for the fact that MSN video is crap. The one occasion I tried to watch something on it, I was forced to install a plug in as I was using Firefox and not their beloved Internet Explorer. The plug in wouldn’t install properly and the only part of the video I saw was the annoying advert that came on before it.

YouTube’s bosses may feel as though they have the upper hand at the moment, but they are surely on course for a massive public humiliation the longer they continue their ridiculous stance. With the head of UK Music Feargal Sharkey already condemning them as bully-boys, chances are that it won’t be too long before other music industry figures, including many artists, are speaking out against them. In the meantime, I’m considering boycotting YouTube for as long as this goes on. If the visitor figures for the British site suddenly dropped,  they’d soon get the message.