Rare are the times that a comment on a blog post makes you stop dead in your tracks. Such was the case this morning as I was getting my daily fix of Matt Asay’s posts over at InfoWorld’s Open Sources blog.
One of Matt’s articles this morning called out the RIAA’s influence peddling in Congress. Nothing earth-shattering, but informative nonetheless (he calls out his state’s senator, Orrin Hatch, who received $6,000 from the RIAA…an amount I suspect is more than Hatch has made as a songwriter).
Then I started reading the post’s comments. The third comment, by Peter Sysko, may be the single-most provocative comment I’ve yet to read in the blogosphere:
…i think its better that people in the world listen to the music that they want to listen to, rather than what they can afford.
Think about that for a second.
As a society, we’ve chosen to abdicate the value we place on art and culture to corporations — lawyers, really, when you think about it in the context of the RIAA and MPAA. We’ve chosen to let others determine the cost of admission to our exposure to cultural advancement.
Peter’s statement says as much about what’s happening today in software as it does about music. Proprietary companies — most notably Microsoft — are the RIAA/MPAA of software, clinging to business models that look backward instead of forward and seek to levy taxes on those that dare to challenge what they view as their monopolistic right to print money. The open source movement is doing to proprietary companies what MySpace, YouTube and other social media sites have done to the RIAA/MPAA: giving artists (in this case, software developers) a foundation to communicate, collaborate and sell to their customers without the arbitrary and outdated overhead imposed by those who are unable to adapt to the changing demands of their customers.
Well said, Peter.