Politics Today

It’s Napster.

What do we know about Napster?

It happened as a result of technological change. Same deal here, but instead of high speed connections, it’s smartphone cameras.

In the late nineties and early 2000s, only college students had high speed connections. The public came along later. Same deal with smartphones. Sure, some had them in Ferguson, but now everybody has one. Come on, go on YouTube, whenever there’s a newsworthy event, there’s footage. A rock falls onto the freeway and hits a car? There’s video! Almost nothing is undocumented.

And the people trading files were pissed at the record companies. They did studies back then. Labels were some of the most hated entities extant, down there with cable companies. People were sick and tired of paying ten plus bucks for a CD with one good track. The labels thought they were winning, by eliminating the single, but they were wrong.

Today the rank and file don’t believe the government works for them. That the game is rigged, that it’s run by a professional cabal and corporations and they have no say.

So they protest.

So what does Trump do? CALL OUT THE NATIONAL GUARD! Push back, employ tear gas.

This is exactly what the labels did in the early 2000s, to support their business model, they sued their customers. Nobody agreed with this philosophy other than the labels themselves. This just made customers angrier and even the press questioned the tactic.

Meanwhile, revenue went up. This file-trading thing needed to be eradicated, but CDs were still flying out of the bins and the iTunes Store came along and proved…what, I’m not sure. That people without technological skills would pay for music while the rest of the customer base continued to steal? And now the labels’ great fear was reality, in other words, the single was broken out of the album. Oh, you could still buy an album, but why?

And then revenue cratered. To the point where half of recorded music income was lost, and it only bounced back with streaming services, most notably Spotify, which offered a free tier.

You still hear insiders saying they want to get rid of the free tier. And they keep bitching about music on YouTube. But the truth is the free tier, supported by advertising, was a disincentive to steal. Same deal with YouTube. These days, streaming numbers on paid services oftentimes outstrip those on YouTube. If Spotify had been able to launch earlier, music on YouTube wouldn’t have been such a big deal. But not all labels would sign on, and therefore Spotify’s launch in the U.S. was delayed.

And let’s be clear, it is about Spotify. Sure, you read the Apple numbers, but the truth is subscribers on Spotify are much more active, they listen to more music, and that’s what drives the business, active customers. As for Amazon…it’s got a unique strategy. The Echo is a Trojan Horse and unlike Spotify or Apple Amazon has a hi-res tier. To gain a foothold you must be different, which Amazon is. Try out their high quality tier. It’s not as expensive as Tidal’s. And Tidal is a joke, a gnat on the ass of paid music consumption.

So, the Democrats and Republicans have been acting in a vacuum for decades now. It’s a closed game, and you’re affected by who wins and loses. Disruption was impossible, because of the Constitution! There was no way around it.

So, taxes were lowered for the rich. Republicans thought no one would notice. But today news is everywhere, and many people noticed.

And the Republicans have been focusing on social issues to win elections. Anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage…but these don’t put food on the plate. Of course there’s a hard core of constituents who continue to vote Republican, but there are people who buy CDs TO THIS DAY! Furthermore, you’ll find people who won’t sign up for a paid streaming service. They’ve got all the answers. What if there’s no cell signal? They’re too ignorant to know that you can download the tracks to the device, so as long as it has juice, you’ve got tunes. They say they need to own it. When the format they possess won’t even last. Come on, when was the last time you saw a VCR in somebody’s house, never mind a LaserDisc player. As for DVDs… My computers don’t have drives. My last DVD player didn’t have an HDMI port…so what did I do? I tossed it, and didn’t bother to replace it.

We live in a world of on demand. And one of the great things about on demand is the product can always be improved and your gear is never obsolete. Even the car companies went to on demand. They outsourced manufacturing to third parties and they only want delivery when they need it, oftentimes just hours before car construction. And I know I’m mixing virtual with physical. But like the hoi polloi, who are constantly denigrated, the car companies had no savings and look to the government to be saved during times of crisis. So, the government rescues corporations and banks, and you’re plum out of luck. Maybe you got $1200. See how long that lasts. It’s socialism for the rich, and capitalism for the poor.

But it gets worse! The rich constantly brag about their lifestyle and believe since they’re wealthy they know better, fomenting anger in the lower classes, who are the overwhelming majority in numbers, if not bucks.

But big time media, in bed with those in the government, say politics is all about the money, even the Supreme Court endorses this, and gets rid of the Voting Rights Act to boot.

As for said media… This was the same media that beat up the record business for being unprepared and ignorant, meanwhile, it was just a matter of time until the internet came for them, and most of them were wiped out. And even the big ones today are essentially begging. It’s a glorified GoFundMe campaign. Keep local news alive! Why? You charged us more for less and it gotten to the point where your newshole is so small, I don’t need to subscribe. Instead of investing, you cut in order to maintain your profit margin. So, the only publications which survive are the “Wall Street Journal,” owned by Rupert Murdoch, who uses the paper as a right wing mouthpiece, irrelevant of income, the “Washington Post,” owned by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, and the “New York Times,” which is so self-congratulatory while at the same time being self-flagellating that it seems removed from what is happening on the street. Furthermore, these outlets just report, as the country’s government turns to the right, as authoritarianism raises its ugly head. These reporters are tied into the system, they’re friends with the bigwigs, they want to get rich too, so the consumer is left out.

Yes, the consumer has been taking it up the yin-yang for years.

But now the consumer has the tools, the aforesaid smartphone and social media distribution, to get its message heard.

And then George Floyd gets killed in Minneapolis…

They’ve been killing African-Americans willy-nilly for years, but there were no cameras, there was always an excuse. Hell, until there was footage in Georgia the jogger was at fault, he was breaking into houses, you’ve got to take the white man’s word.

So, after being sick of overpaying for one good track on a CD, being labeled lazy, the African-American community revolted.

But it turned out they were not the only ones who were pissed. The white people came out too. Other people of color. There were demonstrations in 750 cities in America. You see it’s no longer an African-American problem, it’s an underclass problem. And compared to the wealthy, almost all of us are members of the underclass.

So, what do the insiders and fat cats tell us to do? VOTE! As if that’s gonna make a difference. They believe in the system, after all, it’s working for them! You know, buy CDs!

And then there are the people afraid to steal. But when they see everybody surrounding them doing it, they jump on board.

You see disruption doesn’t only happen in technology. And right now, we’re seeing politics disrupted.

The Republicans sold their souls to Trump, to keep their jobs. Just like the execs at the labels, they were thinking about themselves first.

And the Democrats said we had to return to the past, we could not venture into the future. The people couldn’t handle it, they didn’t want it, they needed to feel safe, they abhorred chaos, so the DNC nominated Joe Biden, someone no one is excited about. The Democrats are rock in an era of hip-hop. And let’s be clear, most rockers HATE hip-hop! They give it no respect, they say it isn’t music, they vilify streaming services, meanwhile hip-hop keeps getting bigger.

And AOC comes on the scene, a young ‘un, part of the demo, who understands the plight of those disadvantaged by the system, and she is EXCORIATED! Shut up you loud mouth, you’re too big for your britches, get in line and be quiet.

But she was on to something.

And then you’ve got septuagenarian Bernie Sanders, who suddenly seems like a seer. In light of Covid-19, Medicare-for-all seems necessary, to protect the health of the country’s citizens from those who are too poor to get medical treatment if nothing else. And as the big get bigger, Amazon and Google rule and we suffer, Biden is in bed with them.

You might think I’m a party of one, you might ignore my call, just like you ignored it in the days of Napster. But yesterday on the “Washington Post” app I saw this:

“New generation of activists, deeply skeptical of Democratic Party, resists calls to channel energy into the 2020 campaign”

Why trust the Democrats? They’re disconnected from the voting public. They’re just the party of the elite, the entrenched, who want to maintain what they’ve got. At least the Republicans are more honest about it.
You see both parties have lost the confidence of the rank and file. And we’re not going back to what once was. A return to normal Biden proffers? Well, normal wasn’t that good for most people to begin with!

As for gradual change, trusting the system, it didn’t benefit the African-Americans.

We are only going forward.

Change always comes from outside, insiders don’t want it, we saw this with Shawn Fanning and Napster. Insiders can’t see the future.

And the new leaders follow at best, the labels are no longer in control of recording. If nothing else, everybody can record at home essentially for free on their computer and promote themselves on the internet/social media. As for the labels, they don’t develop, they just skim the cream and promote as they continue to lose market share.

Adapt or die.

Hell, we’re dying on the street, and we’re sick and tired of it!

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