August 25, 2012

My One Hit Wonder Collection

I am not an Apple-holic. Our cell phones are apparently Apple rip offs, though. There is an iPad in the house, but the rest of our computers are PCs. But, Apple has the market cornered, in my opinion, on music storage devices.  There is at least one for each person in the house.  Yes, I know iPods can hold books, music, aps, movies, etc., but I have no desire to read a book or watch a movie on a palm-sized screen.

I have a third generation Nano that I love with all of my heart.  I love its square shape and simplicity.  I don't need much storage, as I don't see the need to cart around my entire music collection on one device.  I don't need a touch screen, I like to scroll.   I didn't start out with well-organized play lists (a mistake) and I have severe digital clutter due to the younger kids putting stuff on my iPod before they owned their own.  (The Jonas Brothers videos used to be a great distraction for The Princess when we were stuck in doctor's offices or a particularly long sermon).

My iPod has mainly served as a depository of the kids stuff (as referenced above), newly released songs that I like and favorites from my CD collection.  But overwhelmingly, it is filled with one hit wonders that I always loved, or liked to sing along with, but never wanted to spring for the rest of the album.  Even then, I have amassed quite a collection of digital music files, most from iTunes at 99 cents to $1.29.

Holy Crap! I have spent over $1,000 on music that I don't even really own.  (Looking across the room at my old school collection of CDs, some ancient cassettes (from bands that never recorded on CD) and vinyl, I am even more disturbed at what my lifelong music habit has cost!)  At least someone can have all the old material, to do with what they will.  At the rate that my kids collect digital music files, they will haven tens of thousands of dollars worth of music in virtual accounts and on portable devices.  And when they die, it dies with them.
Someone who owned 10,000 hardcover books and the same number of vinyl records could bequeath them to descendants, but legal experts say passing on iTunes and Kindle libraries would be much more complicated.
And one’s heirs stand to lose huge sums of money. “I find it hard to imagine a situation where a family would be OK with losing a collection of 10,000 books and songs,” says Evan Carroll, co-author of “Your Digital Afterlife.” “Legally dividing one account among several heirs would also be extremely difficult.”
Part of the problem is that with digital content, one doesn’t have the same rights as with print books and CDs. Customers own a license to use the digital files—but they don’t actually own them.
That iPod as a Christmas gift doesn't seem that smart now.  
Most digital content exists in a legal black hole. “The law is light years away from catching up with the types of assets we have in the 21st Century,” says Wheatley-Liss. In recent years, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Indiana, Oklahoma and Idaho passed laws to allow executors and relatives access to email and social networking accounts of those who’ve died, but the regulations don’t cover digital files purchased.
Apple and Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.
There are still few legal and practical ways to inherit e-books and digital music, experts say. And at least one lawyer has a plan to capitalize on what may become be a burgeoning market. David Goldman, a lawyer in Jacksonville, says he will next month launch software, DapTrust, to help estate planners create a legal trust for their clients’ online accounts that hold music, e-books and movies. “With traditional estate planning and wills, there’s no way to give the right to someone to access this kind of information after you’re gone,” he says.
I won't be signing up to be the first test case, but I will be watching to see how this legal issue evolves in the coming years.  And I will still religiously back up my digital library to old school media in the meantime.


CharlieDelta said...

I don't even own an iPod. Never have. I keep telling myself, "They'll drop in price in a couple of years." like everything else, but they just keep getting more advanced with more memory and ultimately, more expensive.

I like owning the actual cd or album. Digital is alright, but I'm a big fan of liner notes, credits and lyrics. Call me old fashioned.

Harper said...

More and more I find myself buying CDs and then putting my favorite songs on the iPod to listen to on the go. It is the modern version of a mix tape.