Beating the price of free

A few weeks ago I wrote about how happy I am with Rhapsody, the subscription-based music service. For a cost per month of less than a music CD (what’s that?) I can listen to just about anything I can think of. At that cost, I lose any motivation to steal music. Whether or not you can sustain a music industry with those fees is a different matter, but I don’t mind paying Rhapsody’s fee. Put another way, Rhapsody has undercut the hidden costs of stealing music, which is a personality-dependent amalgam of nuisance and guilt.

I tried the Netflix streaming movie option too, but I was unimpressed with their selection. I’m not much of a movie person, but I reasoned that they would have all the old movies ready for me, and there are plenty of interesting old movies that I want to see. But sadly, even the old movies are largely missing from the streaming catalog, so I let the membership slip. But my Rhapsody experience taught me that it’s just a matter of building up a comprehensive enough catalog.

Some people are plenty happy with Netflix streaming already. Here, for example, is ReadWriteWeb’s Mike Melanson: How Netflix Stole my Eyepatch & I Stopped Stealing Movies. The commentary on ReadWriteWeb pointed me to a short piece at TorrentFreak that starts like this:

Something’s not right in the United States. Increasingly people start to pay for Netflix subscriptions so they can stream movies on demand.

In the States Netflix nearly doubled the number of new subscribers in the first quarter of 2010, from 1.7 to 3.3 million. … It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that Netflix’ popularity has a negative effect on the movie piracy rates in the US.

I love the hand-wringing spin he puts on it. Piracy is being wiped out in America unless we work together to do something about it! What’s really going on is that Netflix found the money floor, the price that beats free. Stealing movies is even more of a pain than stealing music. Which is to say, not that much, but enough to justify a few bucks every month. Once your music and movies are online, you can say goodbye to that wretched experience of finding the jewel box you were looking for, opening it up, and only then discovering the #$% box is empty. Agggghhh!

2 thoughts on “Beating the price of free”

  1. I’ve found the same thing with Netflix, and learned that they are teaching us Zen: instead of looking for a specific movie, one must accept the vast array of available movies and select something unexpected. We are currently streaming the entirety of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and seasons 1 through 4 of the new Doctor Who. Take THAT, premarital sex!

  2. From my two month Netflix excursion, my two favorite serendipitous discoveries were “Man on Wire” about the guy who walked the tight rope between the two towers of the World Trade Center, and “Exit Through The Gift Shop” about Banksy and graffiti art.

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