Those who own the things you rent, owns you
"The things you own end up owning you", is the saying from fight club, and while this may be true, it's not as bad as it could be. What's even worse than being possessed by your possessions, it being possessed by the possessions possessor. In other words, the things you down own does not always imply freedom, it could imply even worse slavery.
I'm now a grown up, maybe the last generation to have grown up, at least partly, in an entirely thing-oriented world. Everything was just that, a song.. A song was on a physical medium, a vinyl record, a reel of tape, a cassette or a CD, sure, the medium is not the content, but ownership is first and foremost of the medium. Troves have been written about how it's a great thing that we have liberated music (and most all other forms of content) from their physical prisons and into the limitless digital wonderland. So I will write about the opposite, not because I am in disagreement with most of what is said, but because I feel there are other points worth thinking on. So, this is not an advocacy per-se, for physical medium, just something to thinkg on.
I've written before, about the intrinsic loss of removing things from the physical world so that they exist entirely in the digital realm, so this is not that rant.
Instead, it's more practical, about control, identity and values.
There is a lot of great things to be said about digital libraries. I listen to most of my music on my computer, though I have a few hundred CDs and some tens of vinyl records and some reels that I take for a spin once in a while as well, but this is also not going to be about the subjective experience of content delivered on media.
But your Spotify account, it owns you, you pay at a regular interval, for the privilege of being able to listen to music at all. Not only can this all disappear in the blink of an eye, but you're less invested in it as well, how much time have you spent sorting your Spotify songs? Do you even know what you have access to? What you're missing?
It's not so, when you own your music, on CD or on a harddrive on your local computer or network, those files, you ARE in control of, they will never be taken away from you, you own them, and because of that, you've taken the time to organize them somewhat, you know what you have, and you probably also know what you're missing.
I wonder, if we're not being made into slaves, slowly, slaves of convenience, one subscription at a time, until there are no alternatives to renting the content in our lives on a monthly basis.
I wonder what kind of mentality, what kind of relationship with things and with money, this fosters in our generation, and especially in the younger, who've never had the pleasure of rewinding their tape to listen to their song again.
I wonder if money will be seen as the fuel of life, something that is liquid and flows in and out, mostly as a formality, the background of life, rather than a proxy for value, that can be accumulated until a critical point, where it can materialize into permanent change for the better
And maybe that's the point I want to make, than when you own something, it's yours, forever, the initial price may be higher, but in the long run, it is cheaper.
Let's say I want to listen to Iron Maiden - The Trooper. I can chose to pay $16.25 per month for that privilege, every month I want to be able to listen to that song, or I can chose to buy Piece of Mind once, for $16.42, and it's forever mine, for the rest of my life. I only need to listen to that song two times, in separate months, and my money is home, not only that, it's MINE, or, the medium that carries it is, so I can give it away to a friend or pass it down to my children (come on, Iron Maiden is for all).
I'm worried that we're educating super-consumers, who see no potential in the future, because they will always live as poor, even with high incomes, and the moment their income goes away, everything they used to have access to, goes with it, they have nothing left.
That's all I wanted to say