Sometimes, cartoon characters remind you of yourself. Recently in my case, it was Lisa Simpson.
An episode of The Simpsons entitled “Mypods and Boomsticks” had Lisa wanting a MyPod (which, obviously is a parody of Apple’s iPod) more than anything else. For people who don’t know it yet, I got a job just to buy an iPod. Miss Lisa Simpson and I have that obsession in common.
When Lisa finally had her hands on a MyPod, she just cannot contain herself. She downloaded a lot of content for her media player – Itchy and Scratchy Podcasts, Songs, Movies, everything. When she got her bill, it costs her a thousand freaking dollars. Of course, she cannot afford to pay for it, so she went on a journey to the Mapple Headquarters and begged Steve Mobs, Mapple’s CEO, to get her into a plan that would make her pay her bill lightly (Mapple and Steve Mobs are parodies of Apple and its CEO Steve Jobs). Mobs agreed and made Lisa an employee of Mapple.
In the end, Lisa is shown standing on a street corner wearing a MyPod costume and giving out flyers, saying “Think Differently.”
Lisa’s story is one of my worst nightmares: a truckload of bills, begging my way out of it, and landing on a lousy job that requires standing on a street corner all day. Yes, makers of The Simpsons may be exaggerating, but could it be possible that a single digital device will lead your credit card down the drain?
These digital stuff can really lure someone. I consider my iPod to be the best digital thing that I have (it’s a media player, a web browser, a calendar, a notepad, a photo album… the list goes on), but having it is just the start. I need to download content to play on it and shell out cash for software maintenance. It was a good thing that iTunes is free to download (but then again, it is iTunes that offers you a lot of stuff to purchase).
What does it imply? Sometimes, having something can only be a tool for you to acquire and spend more, like how Lisa Simpson who was given a free MyPod by Krusty the Clown ended up with a box full of her download bills. The Internet can do a lot to make the people enjoy music and other things, but you must pay the price.
Or not. Before the Internet, people are already paying to have a copy of their favorite songs. Back in the days when there are only cassette tapes and CDs, the artists are garnering much of their fans’ supports and their record sales are relatively much higher than today. What happened when the Internet came along? Piracy became even more rampant. I guess it is because of torrents and peer-to-peer sharing (eg: Limewire) that a lot of people can now afford to have a portable media player like the iPod.
Like what I have said in my previous blog, I wanted to support my favorite artists just like the old days (I used to save up for Westlife’s cassette tapes when I was in grade school!) but the prices have become too high (and I also realized that when you grow old, you will have other priorities aside from these). Whether is be a physical CD or a digital copy, one would think twice to buy it when you know that there is an alternative way that doesn’t require you to shed moolah at all.
Being today’s consumers and future practitioners, we know what we have to do. We have to think of ways that would balance the situation between the masses and the artists. We need to think of ways that would revive the music scene without having the people pay as much as Lisa Simpson’s MyBill. We have to think of ways that would make the consumers, including us, believe that music is worth our money.
Cliché as it may sound, we have to “think differently”.