Commoditization of Music
A few days ago I wrote a piece talking at least in part about how the prevalence of steam sales has lowered my valuation of games in general. Yesterday while running errands at lunch I happened to catch a piece on NPR talking about how Audio Streaming is both the salvation and the curse of the record industry. I did not catch the name of the show but they brought on several points of view, talking about how it is both creating new artists, and giving folks a steady trickle of income… but making it extremely hard for said new artists to actually work on music as their fulltime job. While I sympathize with this point of view, I have to say that I am absolutely one of the people who is no longer buying music. There is the rare occasion when I buy an album that does not yet exist on a streaming service, for example I have purchased the two Final Fantasy XIV soundtracks, and have the third on preorder. However once I get them, I rip them and upload them to my Google Music account so I can listen to all of the music I care about through that one interface.
I guess the strange thing for me… is that I want to pay something for music but that I ultimately just want to pay a single monthly fee for “all you can eat” access. While I absolutely love music on one level, on another level it has become commoditized for me. There was something about going to the record shop, buying a CD, opening the package… getting that new CD smell… and then consuming it. With the digital age that experience is all gone… and it makes me hard to care about it on any level deeper than what I happen to be hearing. Also I feel like along the way my listening patterns changed. Music to me is a background soundtrack to my work day and my commute, and my attention is always somewhere else and not fully on the music. Before the advent of streaming music, I had already pretty much stopped purchasing music… except for on very odd occasions. As soon as I could pay one price to get full access to an existing library however… I was on board with that and after trying all of the current services I finally landed on Google Music being the best option for me. There was a point where I realized that I no longer care about “owning” music and simply want to “lease” access to it, and I figure my monthly fee from streaming is giving the music industry more money than the “zero” they were getting from me before.
Tidy Whitey Man
Yesterday I had all of these plans to help shuttle a group of sub 170 players through a bunch of expert dungeons for tomestones of law and great freedom. The problem is the game conspired against me, and at 9pm my time the servers went down for emergency maintenance. Generally speaking when the servers go down with such short notice there is some sort of exploit at play, namely one that has “game breaking” ramifications. So instead of doing the thing that I had intended to do… I was left with a plethora of other options. The problem being… the only thing I really wanted to be doing was playing more Heavensward. So I popped out of game and out of teamspeak and booted up the wildly popular survival game Ark for the first time. I have a couple of groups of friends playing on various servers, but I wanted to at least get a feel for the game before I dove into having other people around me. The game has a nifty local only mode that I decided to spin up a map in.
First off… I had no clue what I was doing. I could see a beacon off in the distance so I thought well… maybe the game is intending me to run in that direction. Along the way I figured out a few things… that I could punch trees to get materials, and I could pick up rocks with my bare hands. The problem being that punching trees is apparently bad for my health. Like when you are doing it.. the game messages quite clearing that you are hurting yourself. After a bit of running around and collecting beach debris I figured out how to craft something. I managed to punch a tree long enough for it to provide some wood, which allowed me to fashion a crude pick… and I was off to the races. From there I leveled up and learned how to make an axe and a fire pit, and seemingly life was going pretty well. That is until I continued down the path of madness that was finding the beacon. At which point I stumbled across a level 26 spitter, that killed me rather quickly… and the controller that I was not using vibrated madly as I died. So next time I maybe have a better idea on how to go about this process, and I am also going to try playing it with my xbox 360 controller since the game apparently supports it.