My immediate reaction to the Megaupload arrests

Well well well, this is an interesting turn of events.

It would appear that NBR has reported the arrest of the CEO of popular file sharing website Megaupload by the New Zealand police at the behest of the FBI, no doubt at the behest of big content in the States. Anonymous has already gone batshit crazy, taking out websitessites of the Department of Justice, RIAA, and Universal Music Group, among others. My reaction is one of fury that the American government can be allowed to throw their weight around in a manner stereotypical of it’s citizens and that NZ’s government has bent over and taken it like that one guy who is forced to pick up the soap in the prison shower, but raging about the closure of one file uploading site is as pointless as a radio show for the deaf, because frankly there will be a dozen alternatives to Megaupload by Monday let alone that there are already a dozen alternatives at least. What really concerns me is what the US will do next. If it were me I would push a law that effectively told the citizens of the world what kind of website you were legally allowed to publish, making any file uploading site or service illegal, thus ruining the concept of the cloud as we know it. And the way SOPA and PIPA have gone, I wouldn’t be surprised if such a law were to surface before Congress in the next eighteen months.

In the meantime there are many alternatives to Megaupload (although finding ones that work with iOS are a by tricky) and more will pop up as time goes on, so unless you paid for a premium account I wouldn’t lose a whole lot of sleep right now.

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Why I really want Spotify in New Zealand

Music streaming service Spotify is rumoured to be launching in New Zealand soon and I for one can’t wait. This service is going to be a major boon to me and I’ll tell you why.

I like music, I like it a lot. You rarely see me in public without something in my ears listening to music. I have a massive list of music I have still to purchase, and an equally large one of artists still to audition. I also would rather pay for my music than ‘acquire’ it because as much as I despise the big record labels I want the artists I like to get money for their work. The problem is that I simply cannot afford to plonk down a chunk of money for an album I thought would be good based on the one track I heard on a podcast only to find it was the only good track on that album. Realistically I can only afford to buy the albums I absolutely love, but I still want to be able to listen to the albums I like in a manner that still gets the artists some money. Effectively, what I want from Spotify is a system that will let me audition all the new (to me) albums I want in my own time in a legal manner so I can choose which ones I will buy, and which I will just listen to.

“Then why not use iTunes Match? You’re one of those iPeople, aren’t you?” I hear you ask. Three reasons.
One: importing my current music library into iTunes already cocked it up once, and I’m not willing to chance that iTunes Match won’t make it any worse. Two: I may be an iPerson forever, but I might want to recommend music to my sister who uses a Nexus S, so I need something that’s cross-platform.

Three: even though iTunes Match is something of an amnesty for pirated music the only way I could use it as I want to use Spotify would be to download all the music I want illegally and then basically launder it through iTunes, which renders this whole blog post moot.

Maybe I’m just being way too idealistic. Maybe if I want to audition AWOLNATION’s last album I should just look up the tracks on YouTube and then figure out how much of the album I want. Problem with that is that the YouTube app only works so well on any mobile OS. At least Spotify offers much more seamless background audio.

Another question: “Why aren’t you considering other subscription services like MOG or Rdio?”

Simple. They don’t exist down here. Nobody in the content business gives two shits about New Zealand because of our 15-year out-of-date Internet and our remote location somewhere underneath Australia. The fact Spotify is even considering launching this kind of service here is a minor miracle. So when it comes to streaming music it’s either Spotify or YouTube.

Anyway, the service hasn’t launched yet and I haven’t seen any new articles saying it will, so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.