After many years of annoyance, today I have finally decided to stop buying your CDs. This decision didn’t come lightly and I can assure you that I thought long and hard about it, but the decision is final. I will neither buy, promote nor talk about your CD releases anymore.
Let me explain.
I am a music collector. In the past 20 years, I have bought thousands of CDs. In fact, now that I reorganized my entire collection, sold some items and got rid of some doubles, my collection spans roughly 38 meters of CDs (yes, I’m too lazy to count them). Each and every one is legal and was paid for, more often than not also at a considerable price. And I’m not even going to mention the positively large LP collection and the thousands of digital files I was stupid enough to purchase from you. If we lined those up, we could probably double the meters.
Because I’m a member of the three largest jazz clubs in my area, I know that there is only a handful of collectors who even approach the number of CDs I have. And we’re talking more than 450,000 people here. And because I’m also a member of the three largest music forums on the Internet, I know that I’m not the only one with such a large collection (mine is actually comparatively small) unwilling to support your efforts anymore. There are many others. I’m just late to the game.
In the past I have actually defended your move to copy-protect virtually each and every CD you release in Germany, basically stating that copy protection did/does NOT harm the sonic qualities of your releases, despite what other people have said. I have an excellent stereo and so far, I have never noticed any sonic deficiencies with any copy-protected CDs I own.
What I object to is being treated like an asshole, criminal and idiot by you. There are other record labels, but because a large part of my collection is directly or indirectly connected to you or your subsidiaries, I have singled you out for a permanent boycott. There’s more than enough music out there. I simply don’t need yours.
Actually I think it is only fair that I attach to your companies and subsidiaries the labels that you’ve personally slapped onto my forehead: assholes, criminals and idiots.
Sue me, if you like.
I object to you installing illegal software on my PC, I object to you infringing on my privacy and other basic rights, and I certainly object to you insulting me continuously. Not only are you telling me that I’m not any better than the next crook down the road, you also have the nerve to insult my intelligence and to torture me with the most inane explanations, excuses and rhetorical cartwheels.
I can definitely understand your anger when it comes to illegal downloads, illegal copying and general piracy rampant in today’s society. I’m not even sure I agree with people who would say that you brought that about yourself, although some of the blame surely rests squarely on your shoulders.
But it’s not my goddamn fault, so spare me.
Let me briefly try to explain what really makes me mad, really pisses me off and on bad days really makes me fly into a blinding rage.
Firstly, you try your darn best to prevent me from listening to my music either on my expensive stereo or on my equally expensive PC (and I’ve also heard often enough that you make darn sure that nobody can listen to your releases in their cars anymore either … I’m glad I don’t have a car, believe you me). I certainly agree that if I buy a CD I own the rights to that CD only, but with the crap you have forced down my throat these past months and years, I’m not even sure I own the right to what I bought from you anymore. Why? Well, some of what I bought doesn’t play on my CD player (which cost an arm and a leg) and, of course, my PC often locks up when I just insert your CDs.
Hell, I know how to disable all the shite you try to protect your discs with. The problem is that I simply don’t feel like it anymore. I don’t feel like pressing “Shift” anymore whenever I put a CD in my drive, expecting the whole system to go down the chute the instant the CD starts spinning, I don’t feel like playing around with pencils or needles anymore trying to unlock one of your CDs in my drive, I don’t want to see my $2000 CD player stutter anymore and I’m certainly not going to risk ruining it with your inferior products anymore either.
There are standards. If you don’t follow them, you are consciously doing your best to damage your customers’ equipment or render it useless. I don’t care what it is – I’m not going to take it anymore.
Secondly, you buggers have absolutely no respect for your customers. You are constantly offending the customers shelving out incredible amounts of money to sustain your miserable lives and disgusting business policies. You think that you can get me to finance your failures of the past? Think again.
You’re not getting one single cent from me anymore.
Thirdly, I object to you insisting that all the cash you reap from imbeciles like me is redistributed to the artists that you have a responsibility for. That’s bullsh*t, and you know it. You’re spending ever more money on the useless promotion of one-hit wonders, court cases against unsuspecting grandmothers, press campaigns defending your asinine anti-customer policies, image campaigns and criminal software.
It is nothing but a giant potlatch on a global scale.
Fourthly, I definitely object to you locking up valuable cultural achievements, keeping them in your mouldy vaults to let them wither away unheard. If you think that the world needs the crap you continuously force down our throats, think again. If you think that the world needs thirteen Norah Jones clones, Cincotti carbon copies or remix projects of perfectly good classic recordings, think again. I don’t need a yardstick to measure the amount of crap you release instead of finding valuable talent, forcing real artists into alternative business models or simply dropping them like hot iron. If you respect neither customer nor artist, it’s time to call it quits.
It might not hurt you right now, but I’m really looking forward to throwing nine or ten Euro-Pop CDs on your graves once you are dead and buried.
God, there’s more.
Lots of it.
But I just don’t feel like it anymore. It’s been an uneasy marriage these past years and I’m more than ready for a divorce.
You’ve lost a long-standing customer.
I know that my decision will not be noticed by you in the slightest. To put it into more popular terms, you couldn’t give a flying f*ck about me not buying your products. Cool with me. But know this: more and more people like me are abstaining from your products. The backbone of your income is creaking and breaking and it is my prediction that because of that very reason, you will simply disappear from the face of this earth before long.
And you know what I have to say about that?
I’ve had it.
And a hearty “f*ck you too”.