Muschamp Rd

Music, Money, and the Macintosh

November 27th, 2006
Apple iTunes icon

I like music, a lot. Other people like music too. You’ve got your musicians and your collectors. Often people who collect music can’t play an instrument, but sometimes people who really like music take up an instrument, start a band, make their own records… And I’m sure there are people who are excellent musicians but don’t own that many albums, though I can’t imagine why.

The point of all this is some people spend a lot of money on music. I know I have over the last twelve years. I say twelve because I never owned a CD until I was in university. I owned a lot of tapes and even LPs and 45s but I switched to CDs later than most, now I own a lot. I’ve also started to use the iTunes Music Store to add the odd song to my collection that way. I never went in for the whole free download music piracy ‘hobby’. I never had my own computer for a few years and I have too much respect for artists. I still haven’t gotten around to ripping all my CDs to MP3s or AACs.

Collecting music can get expensive especially if you try to buy vintage out of print stuff. I generally satisfy myself with commercially available CDs though I own a few box sets and limited edition CDs, but I’ve never felt the need to go into debt to buy music. I’m now way more in debt than I ever wanted to be due to my MBA.

During a keynote speech Steve Jobs revealed that a single person had spent $29,500 dollars on downloads in nine months. At a dollar a song you don’t have to be genius to figure out how many downloads that is. The story gets more interesting as over at the Apple Blog it is revealed that the person who spent this much money isn’t in fact rich, they may have made these purchases using credit cards. And although it is pure speculation it may have been Dalton Ross or perhaps someone else is spending $3000 a month on iTunes downloads?

Anyway if blogs are to be believed, Dalton Ross may have gotten horribly in debt buying music. Dalton got so deeply in debt, his fiancee left him. One time my mother and I were driving to Tofino to visit my sister and we were listening to some talk radio show. It was about relationships and basically the host was adamant that you shouldn’t marry someone with bad credit. As their debt and bad credit will become your debt and bad credit and you may never recover. The theory went if they were unable to manage their own personal finances they were irresponsible and therefore not worth marrying. The host was a male and he was trying to convince a woman caller not to get involved long term with a guy with horrible credit. He urged anyone thinking of marriage or a long term relationship to first investigate your partners financial situation.

While an undergrad, I lived with a young couple that had debt problems, many of them the male partners, possibly partially stemming from his previous marriage and child support. That marriage didn’t last much more than a year. I have no idea how either the husband or the wife’s personal finances are now, but I remember it being difficult to get rent or their share of a bill along with all the letters from collection agencies that arrived at our address.

I’ve quoted it before, but Nietzsche said “Without music, life would be a mistake.” But music isn’t worth going $40,000 dollars in debt for. I’m not even sure if an MBA is. You can buy a cheap guitar for a hundred bucks and learn to play, is there really 40,000 songs or even 29,000 songs you can’t live without? I think I have 25-30 five star songs in iTunes these are songs that changed my life or are the definitive song, in my opinion, by a major artist I admire. I average maybe a five star song a year I’ve been alive and most of the songs are old, some from before I was born.

Moral of the story, music is great, everyone should have music in their life. It spans borders, languages, cultures, but debt especially credit card debt is bad. Music isn’t worth going thousands of dollars in debt over. It isn’t worth losing a good woman or man over, they are tough to find.

The talk show host might be right. Someone who is unable to manage their own personal finances is not the person to spend the rest of your life with. Even sadder Dalton Ross seems to have learned this lesson the hard way, though sometimes deliberately hurting someone, even someone you are currently mad at, just comes across as petty and vindictive.

Then there is the whole theme of being careful what you say in electronic media, especially publically online. I’m pretty sure Dalton Ross didn’t want certain information to end up on his blog, or the Apple Blog, or my blog. And Susan P. may regret her actions someday. Dalton at least appears to have a job (unlike some people I know) and is trying to get his finances in order.

People deserve a second chance in life.

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