So one of my absolute pet hates is the OMFG SHARE THIS images that proliferate the internet, usually accompanied with the tagline “everyone must share this” or “not everyone will have the guts to share this”.
Before I get started, can I just say that I fucking love having pet hates? I’d have nothing to write about otherwise..
So an image that has me riled today is this one that laments the apparent madness of people who pay £3.50 for a coffee but won’t pay 99p for a song.
I sometimes pay £3.50 for a coffee. I’ve never paid 99p for a song.* Oh, meme-that-looks-a-lot-like-an-advert, you have my back against the wall. Time to throw down.
The first and most obvious problem I have with this is that I have to pay for coffee. It isn’t available to download, nor can a friend email me a coffee they’ve enjoyed or tentatively share it on YouTube.
If the coffee turns out to be shit, I have a good argument for claiming a refund. I can do this because I know what the coffee should taste like, having previously bought it. I can’t get a refund on the 99p song because it doesn’t have limitations on what it should be, and supposedly I can’t legally have it before I buy it. So I either have to go in blind, or go in illegal and disrespectful.
I don’t feel guilty. The bands for whom music is readily torrentable have usually “made it” already. You don’t find local bands or struggling beat poets on Pirate Bay. Come to think of it you don’t find much of anything on Pirate Bay lately…
I don’t want or have iTunes, because I don’t want or have an iPod. I don’t want to buy something from Amazon that doesn’t come in those odd smelling brown packets in 2 to 36 working days.
All new coffee is better than most new music. I can guarantee whatever Christmas concoction the coffee franchises cook up will taste better than George Ezra, and whatever “Irished” coffee I make for myself at 5 in the morning will leave me more fulfilled than whatever Lana Del Rey is passing off as an album track.
Above all else, I resent this image, its message and the digital economy as a whole, because a second coffee costs the same to make as the first coffee, while a second digital copy of a song costs nothing. Downloading music for free isn’t killing the economy, paying for goods that don’t actually exist is.
Moreover, the image itself is just downright lazy. It’s grossly vague about who the “people” it refers to are, unless it’s got the balls to truly mean everyone. It clearly shows a brand of coffee with particularly affluent-but-trashy connotations, but doesn’t directly reference it, hoping to distract from the fact that the terrible description refers to all consumables. All food is gone forever after one use, after all.
Great songs cost 99p. Lousy songs cost 99p. The raw-sewage trash coffee of diners and greasy spoons does not cost £3.50. There’s a sliding scale that represents quality, something which in music only seems to represent greed.
Also, coffee costs that much because it is a whole product. That 99p song is cheaper because it isn’t a full length album. If a 99p track is such a badge of well polished, finished creativity then anyone who farts out a Vine is a fucking artist.
Calling 99p of music a release is like crushing four coffee beans in your palm and calling it Espresso.
In summation? Don’t mess with my coffee.
*Come to think of it, I paid £2.97 for 3 songs from the Gosford Park soundtrack. I installed iTunes just to do it, then swiftly uninstalled it. Nevertheless all my above points still stand. Yes they do. They do.