Hi, I haven’t done this in quite a long time. I had let my domain lapse for awhile but finally renewed and figured I should write more often. We’ll see how that goes.
It’s been a busy couple of years. I’ve finished school since the last time I’ve checked in here and have been working as a tax accountant. I’ve passed two of the four CPA exams and am working to finish up by the end of the summer (probably another reason I should’ve just let the blog die).
In video gaming news, I was fortunate enough to secure an Xbox Series X shortly after launch and have enjoyed it quite a bit since then. Game Pass continues to be an amazing service that keeps getting better. Honestly, one of my favorite games I’ve played in the last two years is Microsoft Flight Simulator on the Series X. It’s such a beautiful game, and it never gets old flying around gawking at the scenery.
I’ve gotten back into collecting and listening to vinyl records which has been a lot of fun as well. It’s nice to put a record on and listen from start to finish. While I love the access that streaming music allows, I’ve often found that I tend to only listen to a few songs and have gone years without listening to some songs on albums I like. Here are just a few of my favorites from the last year:
I made it out to Pennsylvania to visit family after a year of mostly isolation. My wife and I explored Philadelphia, and I finally attended a Penn State game.
With that, I need to get to sleep. Thank you for stopping by, and I hope to pop in more often.
I know I’ve talked about this before, but after listening to the song “Exposure Bank” by Sunrise Skater Kids, I’ve been thinking about the issue of piracy again. I just don’t understand how piracy is still seen as an acceptable route to obtain media without paying in 2016. With all of the options available today, getting access to a wide variety of media, be it music, movies, tv shows or even magazines, has become easier than ever. Spotify and Apple Music effectively let you download just about any album you can imagine for the price of a single album a month. Downloading music to your phone using Apple Music, for example, is as easy as searching for an artist and tapping a download button next to an album. It’s much faster and more reliable than pirating music, and it’s safer too. So why do people still pirate?
“We have so many loyal fans, It’s good to know our future rests in their hands, We all do this for the thrill, Real musicians don’t need much to pay the bills”
Napster became a thing when I was in middle school and it truly did revolutionize the way I consumed music. Before Napster I had very limited means of accessing music. My exposure to music came from what was played on the radio, what few CD’s I could buy in a year, and the music shared between friends (occasionally by trading ‘burned’ CD’s). Once I discovered Napster essentially the entire history of music became available at the click of a button. I was able to discover music quicker than ever before, and rather than spending hours at FYE using their listening stations, I could just download a song and if I didn’t like it I’d delete it.
“Buying bad music is the worst, Be sure to download every album, piracy comes first. Once you decide you like it, Get some merchandise and we’ll be supported.”
For a while most of my music was acquired via piracy, however the launch of the iPod and eventually the iTunes store changed everything again. All of a sudden it was easier to purchase a digital album than it was to pirate it. You would be guaranteed a certain level of quality for a price that CD’s could never compete with. The iTunes store was the first step in the right direction in an effort to supersede piracy as the default method of acquiring music, however in recent years another revolution has changed the music industry yet again: streaming.
When I first discovered Spotify’s premium service, which allowed you to download entire albums from just about every artist you could think of in a matter of seconds, my mind was blown. Once again an entire world of music became available to millions of users at the tap of a screen. Spotify Premium became the way I consumed music (outside of the car, in which I still enjoy my SiriusXM radio) until I switched to Apple Music upon its release. Apple Music works much the same as Spotify does, however I like the app better.
I can’t understand how anyone with any sort of appreciation for music could still pirate in 2016. For just $120 a year you can essentially “own” every piece of music that releases that year and all the years past. Not only that, but you have access you your entire music library on all of your devices, without ever having to transfer any files. It’s so easy it boggles my mind why anyone wouldn’t subscribe to a streaming music service.
$10 a month for all the music your ears desire seems too good to be true, and while it’s great for consumers there is some validity to the fears that the services short change artists. That, combined with the fact that I love vinyl, is the reason I still continue to buy music that I really love. For example, I’ve recently become obsessed with The Strumbellas and immediately ordered their “We Still Move on Dance Floors” album, and pre-ordered their upcoming album “Hope” on vinyl (I also bought both on iTunes, as I REALLY love them and want to support them!)
“Yeah, pats on the back, Yeah, live on the streets, You’re entitled to our music, You did so much to deserve it, Yeah, download a car, Yeah, don’t need to eat.”
There are so many options in other forms of media as well. The app Texture offers a sort of ‘Netflix for magazines” where for either $10 or $15 a month you get access to a wide variety of magazines including back issues. The higher priced plan includes weekly publications such as The New Yorker, TIME and Newsweek.
As for movies and TV, Hulu now offers an add on subscription to Showtime for $9 a month, and HBO and Starz both have streaming services that no longer require cable. You can get access to a wide variety of movies for relatively little money by subscribing to these services. If you want the latest and greatest, I still think the iTunes store offers great prices on movies. I’ve grown my library quite a bit lately just by watching out for sales in which popular movies go on sale for $9.99 or less on iTunes. A lot of new releases sell for $14.99 as well, which is cheaper than DVD’s and Blu Rays ever were. It’s cheaper than ever to watch movies legally, for the sake of the entertainment industry I hope that more people start to choose the high road.
So my copy of Strangers to Ourselves on vinyl arrived this week which comes with a free digital copy of the album. My girlfriend and I both already purchased the album on iTunes on release day, so I have no use for this code. Leave your e-mail address in the comments and later today I’ll pick one and send you the download code. For your privacy I’ll delete all the comments once I’ve e-mailed the code so you’re not getting any unwanted e-mails.
For anyone else who hasn’t picked up the album yet, I highly recommend it. It’s really enjoyable to listen to, especially on vinyl!
Check out what I picked up today:
Modest Mouse is one of my favorite bands, so you can imagine I was thrilled to find these albums while browsing Hot Topic. Sure they’re not originals, but they’re cool just the same. The Moon & Antarctica even came with a code to download the digital album which is always a nice edition. The albums sound great on vinyl and I’m glad they’re now a part of my collection.