loony_moony: (Jon Stewart: You had me at "we're fucked)
Thems the facts:

1. The US is in recession. So is the majority of Europe. China and many Arab countries have incredibly strict internet censorship. India seems to be a free agent. So this is your crowd: People who are mostly out of money but are huge consumers of culture in its many variants.

2. Cinema tickets have been on an incredibly steep rise for the past decade, in direct correlation with the plummeting of the economy. First it was sheer post-9/11 escapism, then it was 3D, now it's IMAX. In NYC, a ticket to see an IMAX 3D movie in peak time has already got to $20. If you think the outer areas are cheaper, you're right, but the average salary is lower too.

3. Television is also more expensive. Time Warner Cable offers a "basic" monthly cable plan in NY that starts at $80. That is without channels like HBO, Starz, Showtime and On Demand movies, not to mention subscriptions to specialized sports channels/events, or even pay-per-view. Don't even get me started on porn. And I don't know about you, but in my building, Time Warner has basically bribed the management company to give them exclusive rights to cable access. I've been given to understand that this has become a standard practice.

4. Technology is more expensive. We don't have to start discussing the wide profit margin Apple, LG, BlackBerry, HP and Dell make off their consumers, right? They all have essentially the same Chinese prison-plant making them their gadgets at a cost that is financially dirt cheap, but also treats people like dirt. I'm an Apple consumer. My hands are not clean. I'm merely stating facts.

5. File storage has become vital. Western Digital is making a fortune on physical storage, and domains, blog services, photobucket-like websites and actual storage websites like Megaupload all provide answers to the rapidly increasing demand in storing media and documents which accumulate beyond the average computer/tablet's memory.

So what are we looking at? We're looking at a global community which is groaning under the weight of its addiction to culture. But this is not a weight made by the addiction itself. It's made by the nature of power-hungry, greedy companies, looking to profit as much as possible from their consumers, and those consumers don't have as much money as they used to, if they ever did. And people who can afford everything are a very small percentage of the global community.

And so, like in every community that is hungry but cannot afford food its masters are selling it (oh yes, I'm aware of the Marxist undertones here), thieving spreads.

Another factor taken into account: We have just turned a technological corner from undigitized media. CDs are being discontinued. The era of DVDs and Blu-Ray will come to an end sooner rather than later. Storage is everything now. This is a mitigating factor in the greediness of big companies who create the media content, because the collapse of CDs was a lethal blow to record companies and their parent companies, who counted on charging as much as possible for their products (while essentially shutting the artists out of the profits).

So we are looking at a monster that is big, hungry and greedy for power and money, with a hand in every plate. We are looking at Cthulhu. And today, Cthulhu took down Megaupload.

Megaupload is probably likely to get heavily indicted. We all know that. We all know what we were funding. Allegedly, they did too, according to some released evidence. The problem is far deeper than Megaupload, though, because Megaupload was simply making a quick buck on creating ideal conditions for a widespread phenomenon of people who cannot afford to consume culture at today's prices, but want it nonetheless.

This is not going to stop. Media companies like Warner Brothers, Sony, Universal and Viacom will continue to create culture and ask for increasing prices for it. People will still not be able to afford those prices. Piracy will continue, because as long as companies don't recognize the need for balance, they will not get the results they want. And no unleashing of governmental dragons in form of laws or indictments will help them, or us, the consumers.

What a shithole.

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loony_moony

July 2012

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