Skip to main content

Surrendering to the Internet Subscription Model?

To anyone else, it would be comical to see the efforts I will go to, to avoid paying for any kind of subscription on the internet. But it isn't funny to me. My face is red with fury whenever I go to a new website and they try to force me into setting up an account, providing my email address, come up with one more damn password, and get lured in a certain direction.

I probably went to the website because it seemed to offer something interesting, for free. But then it starts: could you please turn off your adblocker?; if you upgrade to the Silver Plan, you will get an ad-free environment; or maybe I should install their app, which will take adblocking away from me.

Consider music on the internet: an old school, first generation internetter wants to buy music -- rather then paying rent on it for the rest of your life. 

There is something visceral in that issue to people of a certain age. When we were young we heard our relatives talk about some poor sap who paid rent all those years, and never owned anything, never had anything to show for all those years. 

And yet it must be admitted that a lot of music is available on You Tube for $12/month. (Wasn't it just $10 recently?)

You Tube makes it easier to find classical music and movie film scores that are justly famous. On a "serious" music website, you might fall into the proverbial needle and haystack situation.

So why don't I just bite the bullet and pay my $12/month? In part it is because one shouldn't underestimate the ability of the camera to corrupt everything.

I'll bet these two are excellent musicians, but I resent musicians trying to pander to the camera. Must "the medium is the message" rule over us so absolutely?

The world, being what it is, doesn't necessarily pay somebody a living wage merely for having a lot of musical talent. In show business, "ya gotta have a gimmick" and "there is no such thing as bad publicity." So I am not criticizing the individuals, personally.

Look at the way the musicians act the music on You Tube! It is goofy looking. Do they make faces like that when they are having sex, or passing congealed cheesy pizza?

In fact, why not use actors -- from the adult movie industry -- to 'pretend' the music for the camera, with the sound piped in from 'behind the curtain?'

The audience seems to prefer large ensembles and live performances, instead of more intimate performances where you can hear individual instruments. And the musical quality of live performances is always inferior to studio performances. But what about 'energy from the crowd?' you say. 

To hell with the crowd. The crowd wants show business razzle dazzle, short performances, and the right to eat noisy snacks and cough during the performance.

But let's talk about somebody doing it right: a younger generation can hear digitally-remastered music from famous musicians from other eras. The visual backdrop can be non-intrusive, dignified, and classy: perhaps a slow-moving slide show of paintings or photographs.

Here is an example, for people who love Schubert.  The camera doesn't matter.

But then there is the exception that proves the rule: the visuals of the movie "Barry Lyndon" accompanying the gorgeous cello concerto of Vivaldi. Stanley Kubrick was 40 years ahead of his time in anticipating You Tube. His movie was almost a visual accompaniment to the music. Some reviewers of the movie just don't get it. Today's You Tube Music should try to do as well as Barry Lyndon.