I’d only recently installed AdBlocker again – actually for years I haven’t been using any ad blocking software – and then this morning I read an article and some quotes from John Whittingdale which made me genuinely lol. He displays a genuine lack of comprehension of the issues at hand, yet proselytises so he can get a paycheque. Basically, “adblockers should be banned”.
His argument boils down to this: Content producers have the right to control how you consume their material.
Of course the absurdity of this position is clear and the hubris is enough to make one blush. Obviously for this to work an authority would designate which software you can and cannot use on your personal computer. And then the entire Internet would then roll over and accept the new status quo. The ignorance Whittingdale displays is painful.
“Quite simply – if people don’t pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist,” he said. This isn’t true. He’s trying to illustrate the ‘ol “supply-demand thing” but doesn’t quite get the whole picture. First, as I’ve pointed out before, not everybody is out to get money. There’s a near unlimited supply of content on the Internet created by people because they love to create. The word amateur means just that, actually. For the love of it. I posted about three great albums from Beyond Absence a while ago, for example. Secondly, is there is the question of value. A lot of content produced by these large companies just isn’t very good. Just because it cost a million dollars to produce Flo Rida’s new album doesn’t mean each song is worth $1.99. In fact the cultural value of these songs could actually be negative. So, if Sony Music goes out of business because nobody pays for Chris Brown’s new album then the market has spoken. It wasn’t worth it and we’d like something else, please.
The idea that we’ll be left with a barren world devoid of music and journalism is just nonsense. If anything the absence of the mind-numbing corporate content, noisy, ever-present and always in your face, would open up space for people who genuinely care about the creative process.
So, go grab an ad blocker.