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After 15 Years, the Pirate Bay Still Can’t Be Killed (melmagazine.com)
775 points by paulpauper 27 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 639 comments

Although I am a customer of some streaming services (they are convenient and have good and bad stuff), it is often nice to just get a file for a specific song or movie - and that is most convenient via torrenting.

People do sign up for streaming services, but not for like, 10. Furthermore torrenting got really convenient and is very fast with adequate Internet (let's say 10MByte/s), so you get a decent quality movie in under 5 minutes (obviously only if there are enough seeders - but the availability of torrents completely dwarfs the availability of streaming providers - if it's really unpopular and maybe a little bit older you just won't find it on streaming services).

Beside the fact that BitTorrent is an interesting protocol in itself, imagine just how much simpler Netflix or Spotify could be implemented, if we wouldn't stream DRM encrypted blobs, but download files? You just need many big fat file-servers and put your media there - if we wouldn't have DRM (AFAIK all streaming providers enforce DRM), this is technically a solved problem.

As a streaming industry software engineer: File based streaming is done not for DRM but because of distribution cost and user experience. A segmented ABR video delivery massively decreases CDN costs (which is why Youtube, which is drm free does it). Video startup times, seek times, thumbnail scrubbing, fast forward, clip previews, ad insertion and many other things don't work in a file based experience.

In addition subtitles, secondary audio, descriptive video, and multi-view video etc. are all things which we mandate by law which do not work well in a file base expierenced.

Peer to peer as a distribution method is not only know, but there are plenty of providers that use peer to peer like streaming setups (see https://streamroot.io/streamroot-dna/). You may be using something like BitTorrent and _not even know it_.

Distribution is 1/10th the story and DRM is only a small part of it as well. BitTorrent does nothing to solve the other 9/10ths and removing DRM doesn't either.

> Video startup times, seek times, thumbnail scrubbing, fast forward, clip previews, ad insertion and many other things don't work in a file based experience.

Not a single one of these things is true. In fact, file-based delivery offers a superior experience in several of them with proper implementation. Streaming is popular because it lowers distribution costs, decreases piracy, and allows rights holders to pull content whenever they want.

Personally, I hate streaming. Buffering sucks. Bitrates suck. Audio quality sucks. Never knowing how long something I like will actually be available sucks. It's just an all-around bad experience if you care about your media.

Video startup times are kept low in modern clients by starting at low bitrates and then seamless adaptation up. This is very important for advertising companies, social media, live streams, etc. Every second of startup time cost massive user loss in live streaming (this is well researched and documented). Additionally streaming protocols (HLS/DASH) force files to be encoded such that a full download is not required for a decode to happen. This is not a requirement (and pretty rare unless you know what you are doing with an encoder) for file based workflows.

Fast forward for low power clients relies on an "iframe only" track as there decoders can't do many x realtime decode. This is not present in modern file based work flows.

Seeks use the same startup/segmentation requirements as video startup.

Thumbnail scrubbing requires a thumbnail track and is not supported by file based workflows at all.

Clip previews on sites load at low resolution/bitrates and can be poped up to "full resolution" via ABR. Doing a preview of 10x 4k streams without abr wouldn't work even on a modern gaming rig.

I'd love to hear how you'd do SSAI on top of a file based workflow.

You could of course build a "file based" implementation that had all of these features, but you would just be rebuilding DASH or HLS.

  I'd love to hear how you'd do SSAI
  on top of a file based workflow.
Given that this is a discussion of Netflix and Bittorrent, and the popularity of ad blockers among HN readers, I think the answer to "How would you do server-side ad insertion" is "I would accept losing that feature"

Popular video file players have supported generating iframe tracks for fast forwarding and thumbnail scrubbing for many years now, is there something about the way eg MPCBE and PotPlayer operate that is somehow unreasonable?

It's terrible performance on a power limited devices. It either burns up your battery or is unreasonably slow. Particularly when the source stream is high resolution or complexity.

Sure, but if you have the file, you could generate these ahead of time on a more powerful machine.

At any rate, I don't think users would balk at being given a choice.

> You could of course build a "file based" implementation that had all of these features, but you would just be rebuilding DASH or HLS.

Yeah, but would they pay for it?

HLS and DASH, or any other protocol along their lines (like what youtube used long ago for own HTTP streaming) are still completely inferior to proper streaming protocol on latency and such. I'd say plain "seeking over http" with range requests does often work with lower latency than best HLS/DASH servers on SSDs.

A proper udp based streaming of course tears HLS to pieces

HLS was just a stopgap so providers could use cheap http cdn's.

It worked well enough nobody can be bothered with real streaming now...

SSAI - you write your own player and do it that way?

Also most streaming services offer an offline playback option today.

> In addition subtitles, secondary audio, descriptive video, and multi-view video etc. are all things which we mandate by law which do not work well in a file base expierenced.

That's just not true - VLC has many more features than all the web-based (or "app"-based) popular streaming players. Granted, I checked and my VLC does not have "thumbnail scrubbing", but although that is nice, I don't think this is a big deal and if it's really popular, it will be added to VLC (or it may already be there, I did not check).

I'm a big fan of torrents and would prefer them to streams! I'm a bit of a data hoarder. But there are clear reasons why Netflix et al don't simply have you downloading massive files. It would definitely be simpler, but that doesn't mean it's an adequate engineering choice. Lot of smart people working there and they don't jump through all those extra hoops just for fun.

1. You can't play a torrented file until the download is 100% complete. (Well, maybe 95% complete, depending on how tolerant you and your software are when it comes to malformed files)

That's the way it was designed to work. Otherwise, the bits at the beginning of the file would be much more common amongst your non-seeding peers and the bits at the end would be much rarer amongst your non-seeding peers. Your downloads would start crazy fast and would get progressively slower.

Some clients let you abuse the protocol and "stream" torrents sequentially, but if significant percentages of torrenters (such as literally every Netflix user, in an imaginary world where Netflix simply served everything via torrents) did that it would be an issue.

That's a great way to deliver big files in their entirety via P2P, but that is pretty much the pathological opposite of what is requred for streaming.

For streaming you obviously need that sequential access. You need to optimize for the beginning of the file, since people want to start watching right away. People do not want to wait 60 or 30 or even 10 seconds for a YouTube vid to start streaming.

2. Think about your actual viewing habits. How many times have you watched the first 1% of a video on YouTube or Netflix, and then decided to watch something else instead? Even if we (probably generously) assume most users watch an average of 50% of a given video (I suspect it's much less) that's still 2x wasted bandwidth per video, on average, if video providers blasted out entire files. Netflix's infrastructure (or rather, their AWS monthly bill) is massive already. Imagine it being asked to blast out 2 or 5 or 10x as much data per video as it's already doing.

3. There's also the rather important matter of many (most?) playback devices not having huge gobs of local storage with which to hold complete movie downloads. I've got probably 20TB of hard drives scattered around this place, but that's not the norm.

4. Can't adapt to changing bandwidth conditions by scaling video quality up and down midstream. Personally, I wish I had more control over this as a customer, as sometimes I'd rather just wait than watch a compromised stream, but Average Joe is not going to want to muck around with that sort of choice, or even understand what it means.

Of course you can. Every modern BitTorrent client allows you to download file pieces by their order. IIRC it has been a solved problem for at least 8 years.

That's abuse of the protocol. If a small number of people do it, no problem.

If everybody did it, that would be a big problem.

More to the original poster's point, my post answer's the posters question of "why doesn't YouTube just offer file downloads like Bittorrent?"

There are many clear reasons why; my post gave one of the more prominent ones.

That is just not true, ever since PopcornTime has shown us that getting pieces in order is a viable strategy, especially at relatively large scale (for the BitTorrent network). There hasn't been any significant shortage of availability linked specifically to that way of downloading.

Why is that abuse of the protocol?

Imagine a file split into 100 blocks.

You're the seeder. Initially you're the only one with all 100. And everybody's gonna download things sequentially.

Imagine 300 peers grab block 1 from you. Gonna be pretty slow, each peer gets 1/300th of your bandwidth.

Imagine those 300 peers finish block 1 and move onto block 2. Same bandwidth crunch. Although new peers can at least get block 1 from that initial cohort of 300 peers. But nobody can blocks 2 through 100 from anybody but you. Not ideal.

Now repeat the process for 3 through 100. You're gonna be the bottleneck for a loooooooong time for those remaining pieces.



...now imagine we do it differently. Those 300 peers each grab a random block. This part's just as slow.

But once they have their initial randomly-chosen blocks, our bandwidth explodes. Each of those 100 blocks is now available from ~4 sources (you, and roughly 3 others). And you could even log off at this point, since there is a complete (distributed) copy of your file out there.

As more blocks are exchanged, the effective aggregate bandwidth rapidly increases even farther.

You are assuming all the peers start at the same time. It would be more fair to assume that the peers start regularly. In this case, the order does not cause issue.

But then you are assuming that people will seed for an considerable time (more that a few minutes) after watching the stream. If as many people do they do not seed then the last block will forever only have one seeder. (which would at least be the case for the last scene of the last episode of the last season, a point where you might not like buffering)

If you make that the default, almost all people will continue to seed unless they never use the software again.

There is a fundamental assumption underlying this topic, are the user expected to be on desktop or mobile (including many laptops)? If the objective is to provide high bandwidth then mobile users might see a significant increase in battery and disk usage.

not saying it would not work, I actually like the idea of more peer to peer networking. But as the market is clearly focused on low consumption user devices with commonly little drive capacity seeding would be a damage to UX.

Phones at least have smaller screens and need lower resolutions. But that doesn't really solve the problem.

Most torrents with low seeder counts aren't viable for livestreaming, the speeds are too often much too low.

No really, if this is such a big deal then why did Popcorn Time ever work in the first place? It was (is?) also hugely popular.

Bittorrent tries to maximize the benefit of its P2P nature by not sending the same blocks to more than one peer.

i.e. I'll send block 1 to one peer, block 2 to another peer. Then I can send blocks 3 and 4 to them (respectively), while they each send each other blocks 1 and 2.

If the protocol does not require it to be downloaded in order (I don't know much about the protocol), then presumably you should also be allowed to disable that feature if you do not want to play back the file immediately.

> You can't play a torrented file until the download is 100% complete.

That's just not true.

I've used uTorrent, and I recall deciding whether I wanted to stream or not. It worked well too.

This is addressed as "abusing the protocol"

And given that most popular clients allow you to, this because worthy of the "95% theoretical problem" title.

How is it abusing the protocol if it allows you to do it?

"You can't play a torrented file until the download is 100% complete." Doesn't it depend on the file format in use? Some file formats are streamable, and in that case if the file is being downloaded in order then presumably it can be played (assuming the torrent software stores the file in a streamable way, and the playback software is capable of working with a file that is not yet complete but will get filled up over time).

(In the case of ZIP archives, 7-Zip can't open partial files, but bsdtar can. Although in my case it was from a damaged floppy disk rather than torrent, but the same thing would do, if you are downloading ZIP files from torrent. But if you are downloading music, then presumably bsdtar is irrelevant.)

> 1. You can't play a torrented file until the download is 100% complete. (Well, maybe 95% complete, depending on how tolerant you and your software are when it comes to malformed files)

Theoretically, yes. But in practice, especially with "modern"/high-speed internet, I can open my torrent in VLC after the first few MB are present on my computer and read the entire file as it comes in, without me the user encountering stuttering or buffering of any kind.

In effect, from the user's perspective, you're streaming the torrent - without running into the often present decrease in quality from the "traditional" stream's encoding.

Why do you say subtitles and secondary audio (I assume you mean multiple language tracks) don't work well? I've downloaded files with multiple subtitles and audio tracks, which VLC makes easy to switch between. Admittedly, many/most torrents don't offer these but that doesn't mean they can't.

Subtitles are not a burden; downloading a single torrent with a dozen subtitle tracks adds negligible bytes to the overall download size. Audio tracks are a tad rougher; the good torrents come with multiple tracks, but you are downloading all audio tracks even if you only play a single language–and the size of those audio tracks is not as negligible. Most people with large or unlimited bandwidth simply don't care about "paying the price" for multiple audio tracks; it takes a few extra minutes, at $0 additional financial cost.

The rest is your parent justifying their job/industry as if they're a Godsend–perhaps as compared to cable? It's an indefensible position thus far. The streaming services are all trash with pathetic bitrates; all streams average the same ridiculously low bitrate over the entire stream, without accounting for dark scenes that require orders of magnitude more bandwidth. Every Netflix (and competitors') 1080p streams with dark scenes are unwatchable. It's highway robbery to deliver what looks like 180p frames for a 1080p stream. We're supposed to be at 4K these days, yet they can't even deliver acceptable 1080p. Until the streaming services are willing to stop compressing everything far beyond watchable levels, they don't deserve anyone's business. Netflix, I believe, averages ~3-5 GB for a 90-120 minute movie? That number should be, at least via opt-in to those with the bandwidth for it, 20-40+ GB.

I don't necessarily expect fully uncompressed Blu-ray quality, but the standard should be to deliver something watchable, without banding artifacts. At a minimum that would mean massively variable bitrates, where the highest bitrate of a stream should be allowed to be 10-20x+ its minimum bitrate. Compressing a 60+ GB original file into a download of than 5 GB is flat out unacceptable and unjustifiable.

Netflix and other (similar) streaming services which user per-title encoding technologies deliver a harmonic mean PSNR of greater than 45 and greater than 94 VMAF on their highest rendition, which most well connected users pull. This is visually indistinguishable from a lossless encode.

Complaining about the _size_ or _bitrate_ of encoded file isn't worthwhile. Encoding technology has advanced substantially since blue-ray days and we simply no longer needs the 40mbps bitrate.

Indeed HEVC can offer a mathematically lossless encode at around 90mbps for most content.

I'm sure you're very knowledgeable and correct about a lot of things, but where your argumentation falls down most is user experience.

A concrete example: You say here that what Netflix provides is "visually indistinguishable from a lossless encode". Try actually doing this with an open mind and then make this claim again. It was definitely not the case when I last tried it (very recently).

Argumentation of this nature is sort of endemic in the tech industry: "You think you see or experience this, but I know what you see and experience and you are wrong". It happens in discussions about battery life, visual appeal of different encoding options, basically anything which is at some point subjective and while the people claiming to see a difference could be (factually) wrong in a lot of cases (I often cannot tell), it is very arrogant to sit/stand there and tell them that you know better than them what they see.

But what about when it has been tested and proven that people cannot discern the difference? I don't know if this is what was done with the per-title encoding that the parent comment was referring to, but I know it is the situation with audio. So many audiophiles swear they can hear a difference between FLAC and high quality VBR MP3, but it has been repeatedly demonstrated that, when presented with both, humans cannot distinguish them better than chance.

> But what about when it has been tested and proven that people cannot discern the difference?

The way people perceive (and how to measure it) is in fact not a solved problem. There are studies done and we can often say with a high degree of certainty that something is probably not visible/distinguishable, but claiming something like that for everyone is too strong and also misrepresenting the state of our learning.

Huh? Open Netflix and play any recently added 1080p stream that contains dark scenes. Those scenes are literally unwatchable. I don't mean "not perfect". I mean they look like they were encoded with a 256 color palette. Bitrate is what matters–even with current codecs used by streaming services–and they do not provide something watchable.

VLC works for the subset of subtitles you, an English speaking user, uses. VLC subtitle support does not support things like ASA or EBU subtitles which are used in other parts of the world. In addition rendering of those subtitles is very constrained. These can be added or configured of course.

Secondary audio is not only additional languages but things like descriptive video services (narration for the blind). VLC does not generally support having multiple active audio tracks without flagging things on the command line.

Arabic/chinese/japanse subtitles work perfectly in VLC work perfectly and look much nicer tahn on Netflix for instance.

I have never seen descriptive video services in any streaming service so I very much doubt it is a major issue, and even in that case why wouldn't you be able to mix it with the main track in a separate channel (which is what is done on TV, as TV does not support multiple active tracks either) ?

Even so, being able to mix the premixed descriptive video track with the normal audio track may still be helpful to users who want different mixing levels than what they used (because sometimes the music is too quiet, for example). (I don't like descriptive video so much myself, but some people do use it, and so may wish to alter the setting.)

> I have never seen descriptive video services in any streaming service

netflix has them

What if some particular video doesn't? If I have a file I can download a .srt and have the video player display it.

How are they constrained? I remember this HN submission: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19150484 Basically the entire video is contained in the subtitles.

Subtitles, secondary audio, etc can work in files if those things are encoded in the file. Something like the television captions could be work and then the playback software can be configured what fonts and colours to use to display them, or to not display them at all, and possibly implement stuff such as caption scrollback that the provider did not put in, even.

Still, there is many reason for having the streaming, although it should be a open protocol and not too complicated. And then, if you write a client software and program it to save the file to disk, it can do that too, possibly during playback, and you can program in other stuff too if you want to do.

I thought of idea of Live Audio Video Protocol (but have not actually written any part of it yet, but have some ideas about it), that you can use Ogg streams and you can initiate with file selection, format/quality negotiation, etc, and then receive the stream but you can also send commands to select a channel or subchannel, pause, seek, request data, rate of keyframes (if the server supports changing this, which it might not), and change other settings.

(Actually, I find a few problems with Ogg, and everything else is too complicated, so I made up something which is slightly more complicated than Ogg but not too much, which is called GLOGG; it is mostly like Ogg, but uses UUIDs to identify codecs, allows identifying how individual streams are related (the relation codes are specific to the codec, and are not defined by the container format; you can also specify if a program that does not understand it should ignore it), and a few other things, but still simple compared to most other container formats.)

And about ad insertion, they do that on television without any problem, so I don't know how that is a problem any differences whether it is a stream or file. (Although sometimes they put stuff within the show itself and damaging the picture, they should not do, but that is only my opinion and is unrelated to the protocols.)

> In addition, subtitles, secondary audio, descriptive video, and multi-view video etc. are all things which we mandate by law which do not work well in a file base expierenced.

Since when are subtitles mandated by law? "Multi-view video"? Maybe I'm just missing something, but I've never heard of any law mandating any of the things you listed above (except maybe from a government-funded project, but I'm not sure either, that just seems more likely to require it).

That's pretty crazy. I understand "reasonable accommodation", but doing that for so much content is beyond. Better most of the population gets it that no one can because a few edge cases can't consume it normally. I understand the need for wheelchair ramps, but this is like saying that every building that doesn't have one must add one or be torn down.

P2P solves it. Just not the payment side. Only if one can pay.

I do not even mind it is drm as long as I can get a good quality one in 10 minutes. Even if I contribute bandwidth (as long as controller and during my download) and paid.

There is always someone not paid. But it is those who can and willingly do which oddly leave out. Like Mp3 in 1990s.

P2P could have totally transformed the industry if it had worked out a way to pay creators - especially niche creators and beginners.

It would have owned discovery, which would have badly damaged the big studios. And Netflix would probably have never happened.

It would have been a similar story in music.

But P2P was always about people who think a file is a file is a file, and creation costs are an externality, which can be ignored as irrelevant.

So now we have TPB limping along, and new creators are mostly owned by YT - which is legendary for draconian application of copyright in the favour of fellow corporates.

> Video startup times, seek times, thumbnail scrubbing, fast forward, clip previews, ad insertion and many other things don't work in a file based experience.

One of these things is not like the others.

I use to believe that Netflix or a similar service could be a serious competitor to piratebay and other torrent sites. But :

- they all have rolling and incomplete catalogs. Pretty often I want to watch a duo or trilogy of movies. Only one of them is available on netflix, or I start watching a serie and it gets removed from their catalog.

- I saw the Lord of the Rings on Netflix. I thought it would be great since I had only watched it once in a theater. But the version that was there was just Netflix's version. Not extended cut, not director commentaries, not bonuses. Just what Netflix gives you and that's it.

- Maybe that's just me, but most of the new Netflix produced content seems to be of lower quality than what was launching 2 or 3 years ago. It seems that Netflix is focusing a lot more on delivering tons of original content even it means having duds.

Bitorrent does not have these issues. Pretty much all the movies are there, in whatever language and cut I would like to see. The irony is that I am ready to pay for a streaming service, even more than what I pay Netflix if necessary but still, while it might be more convenient to just push the netflix button on my remote, it just not up to the task compared to torrenting.

Out of curiosity, who are the people who want DRM? I understand that big media producers want them, in some misguided attempt at protecting their IP, but is that it?

> [...], but is that it.


I guess people would even pay for Spotify, if it's DRM free (which means the stuff on it can be copied), but that is still considered "radical" (in the Overton window) for shareholders of media distributors.

That "Save your music offline" is a feature in 2019 is ridiculous.

Fuck yes I'd pay for a drm free audio service. Any competitor of Spotify's that offers this would instantly get me as a customer - assuming, of course, they have a similar offering to Spotify. Spotify is already mediocre compared to Grooveshark and YouTube, it really shouldn't get worse than that.

Deezer + Deezloader

There was such a service once, magnatune, but it never took off.

It never got big but it still exists: http://magnatune.com/.

Yes but protecting their IP is futile, therefore DRM primarily targets legitimate users. The idea is to have complete control over the user experience. You can only watch movies on approved device X in approved app Y. The media companies can then use DRM to put hardware manufacturers and software developers under pressure and order them to do whatever they want.

>Furthermore torrenting got really convenient and is very fast with adequate Internet (let's say 10MByte/s), so you get a decent quality movie in under 5 minutes (obviously only if there are enough seeders - but the availability of torrents completely dwarfs the availability of streaming providers - if it's really unpopular and maybe a little bit older you just won't find it on streaming services).

Small nit: with that Internet speed you could only download a 3 GB file, which is definitely not enough for a quality film. Even iTunes, which is kind of infamous for how badly their films are encoded, is usually bigger than that.

The big picture though is that it really doesn't matter anymore because quite a few clients now allow you to download the first 10% or so of the file first, so you can start streaming it instantly. There's no reason a for-pay streaming service built on to of bittorrent wouldn't do the same.

You need 4GB/hour, to achieve NTSC quality (640x480@32bit video + 44Khz audio) DVD bandwidth.

A DVD ISO rip of a 2 hour movie usually clocks in at 8GB, since a dual layer disc can store 4GB per layer.

The expanded LOTR trilogy needs 2 discs per movie, no matter what definition because each break the two hour mark, and even blu-ray can't fit long movies onto a dual layer disc for its format in HD.

>You need 4GB/hour, to achieve NTSC quality (640x480@32bit video + 44Khz audio) DVD bandwidth.

That's going to depend entirely on the codec. MPEG2? Sure. With H.264 a 4GB 720p rip from a Bluray is going to be much better than anything you can get on a DVD.

>The expanded LOTR trilogy needs 2 discs per movie, no matter what definition because each break the two hour mark, and even blu-ray can't fit long movies onto a dual layer disc for its format in HD.

I'm pretty skeptical of that. Regardless of what media LOTR actually comes on, the extended cut of Fellowship would have a bitrate of ~29 Mbits/sec on a dual-layer disc. That's entirely acceptable, if not exactly ideal. And I'm not sure what the "two hour mark" has to do with it: Fellowship is closer to 4 hours than 3, and there are tons of two hour long films that come on a single Bluray disc.

Yify 1080p rips offer great quality for 99% of the folks out there (ie 55" screen with nice B&W speakers) and yet they are usually under 2GB. No disturbing encoding artifacts, pixelation in fast scenes etc.

You really don't need more. And if you do and have enough computing power, h.265 goes even further in smaller package.

They achieve that by discarding huge amounts of detail from the image, compare a yify 1080p to a well made 576p encode and you may find them less acceptable. They look terrible to me.

honestly if Yify is transparent to you, more power to ya. you'll save a lot of disk space. I wouldn't watch a Yify encode on anything larger than my 13" laptop.

if you want to ruin yourself, try grabbing a Sparks and a Yify encode of your favorite movie and try watching one of the dark scenes in both files. the difference is plain as day on my 27" ips panel.

Honestly I think the situation is even worse on a laptop. Unless you're pretty wealthy, you and probably most people you know have a TV screen that's small enough and far enough away from your couch that your laptop sitting in your lap actually beats it in pixels / degree. I've got a (old) 50 inch plasma set, and since I'm not sitting 4 feet away from it my laptop easily beats it.

On the other hand if you really can't tell the difference between a 2 GB encode and an average sized encode, say 16 GB, it's a good hint to make an appointment with your eye doctor. (I'm nearsighted, so I can't even tell 576p from 1080p on my TV without glasses.)

And due to various licencing bullshit, there are still lota of movies not availabe on Netflix. Especially outside US.

Maybe the society has to finally adapt & embrace to the way things are going in the last 20 years: music stars to earn their money in the concerts they sold out due to "piracy" and not from selling CDs, movie stars from royalties paid by subscribers of Netflix and HBO and other such services, or even monetize their popularity directly from endorsing products.

Software developers seem to be the first to adapt: you can't pirate a SaaS or a cloud. One can try and copy it, but will be always behind the first moved and the original creator, because they always seem to have good ideas.

Equating IP with real estate is bad for the society: why would someone keep producing and keep performing if they made a hit with a song, or a movie, or a game?

Do people really pirate music much anymore? It feels that Spotify and similar services won over piracy except in a few edge cases.

Spotify did it right; they managed to put together a service that is actually better than piracy in the ways that matter to a typical consumer.

The movie and TV industry have instead put great effort into building services that are significantly worse than piracy.

And nobody can understand why movie piracy is still rampant, while music piracy is receding.

It's not as if Netflix isn't trying, it's just that the movie industry as a whole is determined not to cooperate.

Can you imagine a music industry where, in order to listen to new releases, you are required to go to "listening parlours", or wait for radio, CD, streaming release|?

Honestly I feel like Netflix has given up and just joined the crowd. As they lose non-original content they're slowly morphing into a cable channel like Bravo.

They no longer listen to customer feedback. Their categorization and search get worse by the day. They refuse to add an option to disable the autoplay previews that no one likes.

That'd all be ok, albeit disappointing, if they were still charging $8 a month. But they keep raising prices like Comcast or AT&T each year while the quality declines or stagnates.

They're running the Amazon / Apple playbook in media.

(1) Start as a service provider, brokering sales from legacy producers who don't yet have distribution through this new market, (2) pivot to original supply, as legacy producers recognize how much money stands to be made and stand up their own distribution channels, (3, optimistic case) become so large that producers are forced to renegotiate with you, from a weaker position, because they must have distribution on your platform.

I don't think they're going to corner the market like Amazon or Apple did, as they lack the moats (respectively a hyperscale logistics system and first party hardware).

I'm kind of surprised Netflix isn't cross-licensing their back catalog to alternate channels. E.g. trading rebroadcast rights to the first season of Stranger Things to Comcast or a cable network in exchange for {insert popular program}.

That feels the most like an analog to Amazon Marketplace (context: remember, there was once an Amazon without third-party sellers).

That doesn't excuse the decline of their UX. They are adoptingany of the tactics and antipatterns used by other media companies that sow the seeds of discontent with their product.

Netflix's goal with entertainment is to monopolize your free time. Its why they are willing to promote binge-watching, its why they consider games like Fortnite to be competitors in addition to (and in some cases more than) HBO and Hulu.


Their UI is now meant to hide their complete lack of content.

They lost all the big catalogs and deals as Fox, Disney etc. ended their licensing deals. And even though they’ve pumped billions into original content, this can’t make up for the hundreds of titles they lost.

So, the new UI is meant to make you overlook all that and make you watch Netflix original content. To quote myself [1] their selection is ridiculously tragically bad.


> They're running the Amazon / Apple playbook in media.

I'm not sure how this is the Apple playbook, unless you count podcasts (which they've never had an option to charge for) as Apple original audio content, or the upcoming Apple TV+ as a 15 year gap between selling third party video content and providing their own.

> Their categorization and search get worse by the day

And I cannot begin to fathom why.

Fortunately, there is flixable.com for Netflix browsing. But why doesn't Netflix itself do that? IDK.

It's pretty typical that bands will perform a peice in concerts before creating a recording so yes.

You aren't wrong though.

There still isn't a movie streaming service with as much selection as an old video store. Meanwhile Spotify has just about everything.

The problem for me isn't the old ones - is the new ones. I want to see the new movies at my house. Yeah, there are films that I'd like to see at the cinema, but those are less than 5 per year. But if I could pay to watch a new film in the comfort of my home, I'd do it. As I can't, I'll probably download it for free.

Good news then: https://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-prima-cinema-2016-5?...

It will only cost you a 35000 dollar setup fee and 500 dollar to watch a movie.

They even do a background check. This is crazy interesting.

Would you pay for it as much as a movie ticket costs?

The movie industry goal is to improve box office, not your experience, but these two are linked.

At this point is feels like their goal is to get me to pirate as much as possible, lets see my anecdotal data point:

Music - Tidal covers about >95% of my music consumption.

TV shows - I have netflix and and prime, these cover maybe 75% of my tv consumption.

Films - Going to the cinema covers 10-20% maybe? I go to the cinema about 5-10 times a year and I pirate the rest because I don't have a good enough service to get those from legally.

For some films? Yeah, I'd do it.

Same thing was with music industry and guess what? Their revenue from streaming is way lower.

Criterion’s streaming service covers this pretty well. Kanopy — if you have access via your local library — also has a large selection of lesser-known and older films.

> Spotify did it right; they managed to put together a service that is actually better than piracy in the ways that matter to a typical consumer.

I disagree. As a listener, Bandcamp and Soundcloud fulfill my needs better. Artists are more willing to put their work on those services than they are with Spotify, and it's entirely understandable. With Bandcamp, there is a link to buy albums at their asking price while listening. Spotify listens will pay out fractions of a penny. The result is that other platforms will have new music that suits my tastes, and I will be lucky if rights holders will put the same content on Spotify within the next 5 years.

NO, Spotify is a radio service with 0 promise to save your music over time. I use streaming services and have been hit by this issue frequently. It's tragic.

Now I'm stuck paying for all the music I've been paying for again. Or something else...

I disagree with your second assertion: if the streaming services go bad, the alternative isn't paying for all the music you've been paying for again; the alternative is pirating it all of it for free.

That's the beauty of the services: they have to compete with free and to do that they have to provide a superior enough experience to the user. If that ends, the music industry is the loser.

Your solution is explicitly illegal and not always possible. Not all music is so easy to find over time.

You mean by making it free?

If ytdl-ing playlists is considered pirating - yep, for sure. Personally, I do it because youtube has the most complete, without any close competition, music collection (in varying quality).

Playing music off youtube is now the norm in my circle. It's definitely going to dent sales.

I don't like spotify and similar services, and try to buy my favorite music online if I can, but invariably am forced to torrents because it's hard to get where I am.

I'm amazed the music and movie business is finding it so hard to adapt.

Yes, pirated music doesn't waste mobile bandwidth, doesn't get interrupted when I lose my mobile collection, is much quicker to copy between devices, integrates better with music from local artists and gives me many much better music players to choose from.

Most streaming services let you download the media to save on bandwidth. My entire music library on Spotify is downloaded so I don't have to worry about connectivity issues. You can do similar things with Netflix.

It's also easier for me to move to different devices, because all I have to do is sign into Spotify. Manually transferring songs like I used to with an iPod is something I don't want to have to go back to.

I can't speak for spotify, but last time I tried with google music the player still used a lot of bandwidth for whatever reason when playing only cached songs. There were also bugs like pressing next twice in quick succession having non-deterministic behavior, possibly due to network requests.

> Manually transferring songs like I used to with an iPod is something I don't want to have to go back to.

A minor price to pay for not being tethered to an inferior proprietary music player.

> the player still used a lot of bandwidth for whatever reason when playing only cached songs

Reporting listening statistics for royalty payouts.

Buying a t-shirt gives more money to an artist than several years' worth of you streaming their music online.

Spotify started off great but is now a total ripoff to artists since it got in bed with the major labels, trading stock for a larger cut of ad and subscription revenue.

You aren't any better for using Spotify and not torrenting. Make sure to support your favorite artists when they perform near you, and buy merch. Support small-time and local artists. That is the best thing you can do for the music industry.

If you deeply care about music and are an audiophile you do. I was on what.cd before it closed are really appreciated being able to get flac rips of original release vinyl, sometimes dating back 60-70 years.

Example first pressings I have in flac: velvet underground, the doors, led zeppelin, etc

Eh, you can stream Flac from Tidal and their catalog is basically as big as Spotify.

Like Spotify, is their catalog often arbitrarily populated with whatever the most recent remaster is, or some other random release? There is value to having a lossless rip of a specific pressing of a given album. Especially with the case of albums that were mangled with limiters etc during their "remasters."

The number of albums I cannot find un-remastered is infuriating. I want the version I remember, not this years overcompressed mixing style squashing the dynamics while the singer autotunes out those 'bad notes'.

Spotify’s collection is nowhere close to what what.cd used to have before it got shutdown.

I've heard there are multiple successors e.g. https://interviewfor.red/en/index.html

Sometimes these streams aren't available due to contract changes

Have you not been able to gain access to what's successors?

I do, but on what.cd I had 2TB of upload buffer. I'm in the process of building up my ratio with a seedbox on redacted.ch.

Glad to hear it. There's still a lot to be done catching RED up to what's former glory so it won't be hard. Happy sailing.

> If you deeply care about music and are an audiophile you do

FLAC has no benefit over traditional 16/24 encoded content.


>FLAC has no benefit over traditional 16/24 encoded content.

You seem to have misunderstood FLAC with the sample rate / bit depth of a file. The vast majority of FLAC files are regular old 16 bit 44.1 kHz, and nobody is claiming that 24 bit 192 kHz (or whatever) files are better.

FLAC is a codec: simply a way to take all the audio on a CD and have it preserved indefinitely, without "generational" loss (where a mp3 is encoded from another mp3, and so on).

You're totally right. Complete brain blank. I don't know what I was thinking - think I subconsciously mixed my frustration over Tidal's 192/24 marketing with the concept of FLAC.

will be a flac version of a track sound better than a mp3 that was converted from a m4a ? or am I just missing the whole point of FLAC.

Yes it will, assuming the FLAC one makes sense to begin with. FLAC is a specialty codec tuned for compressing audio in the same way that DEFLATE is tuned for general (mostly text) files. Both of them are lossless, which means when you decompress the file you get exactly the same bits back as you started with.

So a correctly encoded FLAC file will be using CD quality audio or better. (CD audio is transparent when correctly encoded in 100% of cases.) FLAC is just a way to reduce the file size of that raw CD data by about 50%.

Lossy codecs like mp3 and AAC (the codec usually found in the m4a container) are also tuned to compress music, but they do so by throwing away a some of the original information. When this is done correctly it should still be transparent to the original the vast majority of the time. No one, not even an "audiophile", can tell the difference under any listening conditions. For mp3 (depending on encoder), the bitrate that achieves transparency is about 256 kbits/sec, though there are so-called "killer samples" that can break certain encoders at that bitrate. AAC (again, depending on encoder) is transparent closer to 192 kbits/sec. The state of the art has advanced remarkably since either were released: Opus is transparent in the vast majority of cases all the way down to 128 kbits / sec, and still sounds great at bitrates below that.

The problem is that just seeing the file extension gives you no guarantees about what the bitrate is. A 128 kbits/sec mp3 is going to sound like mush on a good system. If you convert that mp3 to FLAC it's still going to sound like mush, because you're using a lossy source. But a FLAC made from a CD will sound much better, as will a 320 kbits/sec mp3.

So if all you care about is transparency, getting 320 kbits/sec mp3s or 128 kbits/sec Opus files is probably good enough for you. The issue with "generational loss" I was referring to is when a lossy file is used as a source for another lossy encode. This is kind of like saving a file as a jpeg twice: you always lose more than just saving it once, even if the "quality" setting in the encoder is the same. Plus if you convert an AAC file to mp3, there's an even worse problem, which is that the different codecs try to compress the file in slightly different ways, which can lead to unexpected interactions and sometimes end up sounding like crap.

The point of keeping around a FLAC file is that you have a permanent archive of what was on the CD, and you have a source that you can use to make future lossy encodes from without the generational loss problem. All my albums are ripped to FLAC, but from those FLAC files I encode Opus files that are small enough to take with me on my phone.

.Zip also has no benefit over .exe, .dmg none over .app.

It’s just a codec. It makes it smaller.

Unless you mean “lossy” by “traditional”, in which case, yes, lossless codecs have a lot of benefit over lossy ones.

A perfect example is when sampling or beatmixing; if the final product will be played on youtube or streamed on digital radio or compressed lossily in any form, you will have incurred two lossy compression steps if your source material is lossy. This is akin to subsequent generations of dubbing analog media; the quality degrades quickly with each generation.

How do you convert lossy music to another lossy format? I'm having my music encoded in 96kbps opus in my phone and it is much more convenient to encode them from flac than another lossy format.

I have hundreds of albums bought and ripped to flac on my NAS server. They take about 300 GB out of the 40something terabytes available. I have real rarities stored in there and I pay about 1 euro a month for the cloud backup.

Which cloud backup are you using?

Not OP but BackBlaze B2 has been amazing for me. Very affordable as long as you don't re-download your data super often.

not OP, but checkout rsync.net. Especially their borg repo options.

You’re so confused.

> FLAC has no benefit over traditional 16/24 encoded content

Yes it does. It’s anywhere from 70-30% the size depending on genre. That’s a benefit.

> you might think that FLAC/lossless is audibly better.

No I think and expect it to sound audibly identical. That’s the whole point.

FLAC is an archival format. It's valuable because you can use whatever codec you like to stream the audio or store it on a device with limited space, including future codecs that haven't been developed yet. Lossy-to-lossy encoding is bad.

I don't think you understand what FLAC is. FLAC is a lossless compression format, that's it. FLAC also can be encoded in 16/24 or other bitrates like 24/192. Moreover, you can't (or shouldn't) do lossy to lossy encoding, so if you want to future proof your collection, you should store it FLAC or another lossless format because when/if mp3's go obsolete, you'll be stuck with it.

I do pirate movies. Old ones I can't find in any vendor, e.g. old Woody Allen movies. I also realized that some titles do exist in vendor's catalog, but are not available in my region for some reason.

I have terabytes of pirated music....that I hardly ever listen to because it's too much work to load up the player and find something to play. I much prefer google play, with their algorithms for finding new music for me, instead of me having to hunt for it. Looking at multi-terabyte directories and trying to decide what to listen to is just overwhelming. Google Play has introduced me to several new artists and a couple entire genre's of music that I would have never otherwise found, and $15/mo is well worth it.

It's funny how quantity has a lack of quality all it's own.

My own take for getting surprised is to check out (usually) European jazz radio stations on internet radio.

exactly. Before I had google play I'd end up playing from the same set or leaving off with the same directory that I had listened to before. I'm also a fan of XM radio because while driving it's too much work to pull up the phone and start a playlist, and to an extent I do like the (one-sided) human "contact" of having the DJ announce the songs and make occasional chatter (even if I begrudgingly complain about it sometimes). I tried Radio Garden [1] but found myself still listening to top-40 adult contemporary crap.

[1] https://radio.garden/

Have you tried foobar2000 or AirSonic?

foobar2000 handles my multi-TB library just fine, with very fast searching and playlist creation capabilities.

AirSonic provides streaming on the go, with a "Random Album" list which is an amazing way to explore your library.

> I have terabytes of pirated music

That’s funny. I have much less music locally and that’s why I like listening to it over streaming services.

The cloud may have terabytes and terabytes of all kinds of music, but 99.99% of that does nothing for me.

The music I have purchased and curated locally is my collection and I know I like everything there. It’s a guaranteed 100% match.

I use cloud streaming only to discover new acts and albums, and then it’s right back to Plex.

but every new piece of music you had to have heard the first time.

Sure. But I’m not going to bother buying (or in worst case pirating) music before I know it’s worthwhile having in my curated collection.

I’m not using local stuff for discovering new music. That’s what’s the internet is for.

It's a pain if it isn't organized well. When it is organized well, it's the best.

I have mpd+emms set up with an always on emms playlist window and dedicated dired window for my music collection.

I can't say the same for my book collection though. I tried calibre but didn't like it. Been experimenting with some custom scripts that work but are in dire need of indexing and optimization.

I had this problem, but then I just installed foobar2000 and quicksearch plugin, point it at my p2p disk root, exclude video files. Fast start-up and instant tag search through hundreds of gigs of flac. If you're in the Ts of MP3s range then YMMV, I've never had that many files.

Run a Plex server, and you can stream your own library of music from anywhere (one-time $5 purchase for your mobile app). Of course, this doesn't solve the issue of recommendations, but I personally see discovery and collection as two different roles which can be filled by two different models/services.

I personally am not a big music listener, but when I want music, I start YouTube and do it there, for free, with uBlok installed, which is the same thing. And that seems to work for artists and YouTube too.

When I was a teenager (20 years ago), this wasn't possible and we torrented whole albums like hell. Some people got in jail back then, or had to pay huge fines for "unrealized profits", which was absurd.

As an artist, who collects royalties, go on and torrent it. We see virtually nothing from the likes of spotify thanks to backroom deals selling us out. Come see the show, buy merch, the music is for better or worse, free.

> We see virtually nothing from the likes of spotify thanks to backroom deals selling us out.

Blame your publishers and companies you sell your rights to: Warner Music, Sony etc. They demand up to 70% of revenue from “the likes of Spotify” in royalties.

I have a Spotify subscription but still download music because I prefer owning a library instead of just renting it. However, pirating is becoming harder and harder. Because of Spotify and other service participaton in piracy has declined substantially. File hosting is almost gone, all I see is dead links. What.cd, the greatest archive in the world has been taken down, such a pity. I think a lot of people have moved to soulseek or rutracker, but in general the Internet seems to be cleaning up.

I tend to just listen to music on YouTube these days. For the most part, what I want to listen to is available on there, albeit probably not with the consent of the copyright holder.

Does that count as piracy?

That's what I do. It's absolutely stellar that there are so many live concerts, old TV shows, etc. of things that I'm interested in. Maybe if you have interests outside of the mainstream it's safe for now, but sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't download absolutely everything I like in order to avoid a future where more copyright detectin' software and lawyers get involved.

Another angle that's nice about youtube are all the digitized LPs. An awful lot of music never made the jump to CD, I remember how huge the jazz album bins used to be at some record stores.

I mean this worked for a while, but many songs now are distorted or slowed down so they're not detected by Youtube copyright bots.

Many songs are sped up, and the discovery that this often has the effect of making them sound better than the original may have created a whole new "genre" of music --- nightcore. I've come across some very pleasing "nightcore'd" songs, and listened to the original, but still think the sped-up and higher-pitched version sounds better. It's an interesting psychological effect.

...and I've also noticed the content ID system still detects them, but they probably remain because the IP holders are content to monetise those videos and reap the profits rather than getting them taken down (and earning nothing.) That turns the question into "is adblocking piracy?" and that's a whole different can of worms...

It still works just fine for the kind of music I listen to, no distortion involved.

"I for one prefer the dmca evasion remix..."

Youtube-dl can turn the YouTube videos into audio tracks for you, at least a few steps closer to piracy.

Don't forget the lovely mps-youtube, which allows you to search YouTube, play audio and build playlists right from your terminal.

It's been a godsend for me in locations with extremely slow or intermittent connections.


If I wanted mp3s I'd just torrent them, though. The whole point of YouTube is I can stream them easily and not have to worry about moving files around, and especially, not deal with anything not above-the-board on work-owned computers.

Pay for the hbo mobile version but can’t watch GoT you know. I think music well pass the stage - got both itune music and spotify. But what they should do is to have a non-Priatebay p2p services. Would pay. Really. Have paid in fact. just the broadcasting model is not working. Many got GBit network at home. Cover those first. Not give them dark screen is a good start.


Only for tracks and albums I like very much, that I would be very sad if they were go to away.

Spotify just makes it so easy– click on "offline download", boom, done.

Not since what.cd was killed.

Yes. Lots.

> music stars to earn their money in the concerts they sold out due to "piracy" and not from selling CDs

this is not entirely true; musicians also earn a significant amount of money based on how many times their songs are played on streaming services like Spotify.

Hasan Minhaj had a bit about this in Patriot Act, explaining that this is the reason artists like Li'l Pump are releasing albums with dozens of two-minute songs—shorter tracks means more plays means more $$.

What this means, and what trips me out about using Spotify (or even YouTube), is that I literally can't listen to music on their platform without putting money in someone's pocket. Great for artists I love, sad for cultural curiosities I want to understand but decidedly don't want to support, like Li'l Pump or Chris Brown.

You don't need to make a ton of money to live of your music.

make 60k/year in concerts and you'll live without problems in a country like Italy.

It looks like a lot, but it means 150 shows/year at around 400 euros each + expenses (mainly gas, road tolls, some lunch on the road - sleeping, eating and drinking are provided by the promoter or the venue).

I've worked with bands that played more than 200 shows/year that earned around 5k + merchandise per show.

They payed me 100 bucks per gig, just to sell their merchandise.

Provided it becomes a real job and you have to work hard to keep it going, it's totally doable.

What kind of experience do you have working with bands gigging at 100-200 shows a year? Just merchandising? This is a market I'm very interested in.

Thanks for asking!

This is a funny topic for me, I've always been a super music fan, but never played any instrument.

I've been more a "roadie" than just a merchandiser, I mean that I was with them all the time, loading, unloading, driving and helping out.

Sometimes I've also acted as tour manager, but only in venues we already knew.

Most of the largest shows have been with an Italian band throughout Italy, production was in the medium range, going between a few hundreds to thousands of people (less than 5 thousands).

Many of the smaller ones were in Europe, with american bands, where it usually was in the hundreds in undeground clubs - there 's a large variety of them in Europe, you can find the youth center in Switzerland that has hotel's level accomodations and the squat in east Germany where you sleep on the floor in the cold. But it's a good network to get a lot of shows close to each other, so you don't have to drive much and everyone is kind.

We've also been playing to many festivals: from desert fest to duna jam, from freak valley to roadburn, from up in smoke to hellfest. It's another great way to make connections and meet the bands.

I'm especially fond of what's called stoner rock (I prefer the name desert rock though) and I've toured a lot with bands from the Rome based Heavy Psych Sounds label.

I've been doing it for about 5 years, then the main band I was following took a sabbatical and I went back into tech as a programmer (my day to day job since 1997)

It's been the best part of my life, and, as crazy it might sound, the time of my life when I saved the most: I didn't have to pay for food, drinks, traveling or going to concerts, which basically is where most of my finances went anyway...

I had to pay the mortgage on my house, but if I was renting, I could have saved on that as well.

Best and worst memory is opening to Eagles of Death Metal in Milan, where I've spent the night smoking pot with Dave Catching, founder of Rancho de La Luna and one of my heroes.

I've also shared the merch booth with Nic, their merchandiser, that few days later was tragically killed in the Bataclan massacre.

TL;DR: I got to do it as a job just by answering "yes" to "we need a driver for this one date, are you interested?". I've been reliable so they kept calling me and I ended up being part of the crew, without even noticing.

I like some stoner metal. Really fond of Sleep. I'll check out Heavy Psych Sounds.

And a night with Dave Catching sounds rad. I don't know how that could be a worst memory.

Is your estimate of ~150 annual shows being enough for a comfortable lifestyle meant to generally apply to overseas shows for American bands, or do you think the payout is more or less on par with ~150 domestic shows?

Sorry, I've haven't been clear, the worst was knowing a guy that a few days later was killed while working at Bataclan in Paris.

Many bands I know come here touring for at least a month, and when they're away rent their apartments or rooms back home because life here in Europe is cheaper, especially when touring, especially south or east.

Some of them moved here, to Berlin or Barcelona, some even moved here in Italy, I know of a band that moved in Sicily, on the Ortigia peninsula in Syracuse.

Depending on the cachet, 150 shows are enough to make a living and generally an overseas band have that exotic vibe that brings more people to the shows.

I can't make a comparison with the same number of shows in US, I've never toured that much in the States, but according to what bands said to me, touring US is harder, you have to drive a lot more and accommodations are usually worse (no food or drinks, sleep on a floor or in the van, hundreds of miles before reaching the next city) while Europe is easier.

if you plan your tours carefully and make the right connection, there's a good number of clubs that can guarantee packed shows and/or just a place to play and sleep on slow work days.

For stoner Germany, Sweden and somewhat Switzerland (they offer more than the average, be aware there's still customs in and out) are the best places in continental Europe.

A good way to do it is contact an european band or label and ask for advices. There are services that rent you the van for cheap directly in the airport, a good place is Belgium because it's exactly in the middle of EU, or they can provide you a communication channel with venues and/or services that rent backlines and stuff.

Last, but not least: be very careful with the gear, there have been numerous cases of stolen backlines, it would completely ruin the hard work (and the fun) you were putting in the tour.

The reason for short songs also applies to other services like YouTube.

Spotify is different however in that the cut artists get out of their streaming revenue is very insignificant compared to the slice that their record labels and Spotify are getting. I think it's important to keep this in mind. Spotify is negative force in the industry.

> sad for cultural curiosities I want to understand but decidedly don't want to support, like Li'l Pump or Chris Brown.

I don't think you should be concerned over the fraction of a cent you helped generate for Lil Pump.

it's not a "significant amount of money" for any artist except a very very VERY tiny minority of popular ones.

the (overwhelmingly) vast majority of artists on Spotify see pennies.

you can be certain that you're not supporting anyone that kinda needs the money.

It is not that simple. There are artists for example who are disabled and it is difficult to do concerts, but I agree with you. Just wanted to point that out as some people think of artists as dancing monkeys and not humans like everyone else.

> There are artists for example who are disabled and it is difficult to do concerts,

That's not the case. Dead artists do concerts. Artists that never physically existed do concerts. You could have a Steven Hawking concert now and people would pay for the tickets if music was good.

The disabled artist will get his $30 check for a few thousand Spotify plays. It’s close to zero for all intents.

Aren’t all people dancing monkeys?

Also could you give examples of popular disabled artists that can’t perform on stage?

Because I don’t think I or anyone I know could list a single example.

Plenty of musicians don't your or tour very infrequently. Tool, Godspeed, Kate Bush, and the later era Beatles are all good examples.

Maybe they weren't 'disabled' but they had their reasons for not wanting to tour.

I have my reasons for not wanting to go to work.

Economies change. Everybody has to adapt and do work that people will pay for. In music, increasingly, that means performing live.

There might be other options too. Crowdfunding new albums, maybe. Merchandising. The more we accept the new reality, the more we'll figure out.

I’d love to know of a disabled musician who fits the archetype which is typically thrown around in this discussion. It seems to be purely hypothetical.

Also, this argument discounts second order effects. Who knows what new innovations might be brought on by the need to find an alternate revenue source.

Tool also is not available on streaming sites

Tool seems like a fairly bad example because they are touring right now (not here in Australia though, sadly).

All your examples are the top of the top - most artists can't afford to not tour.

Yeah, I saw Tool twice in one year back in '16, as well as Puscifer. They're all keeping busy. Think that album's coming out this year?

They're playing new songs at concerts now, so things are looking very promising.

Correct. Changing people's behavior by making complex laws makes no sense.

If it doesn't make sense, then it means someone who shouldn't have will make profit.

I was looking on how to legally watch Game of Thrones here in Belgium. It's pretty complex to figure this all out.

Basically you got to have a set-top box of at least 54 euros/month, and add 12 euro's extra to watch certain extra shows and movies (which includes Game of Thrones).

I found a solution without set-top box, but then you stream it on your mobile phone, and somehow need to remotely show it on your TV. This solution is 100 euros/month since it includes internet, tv, mobile provider, etc.

So yeah... I have Netflix, I have Spotify. I never need to download MP3's since they are all available on Spotify.

For movies and tv.... yeah...

And then people wonder why torrents are still so popular? Because it's the most convenient, not because it's free.

There is another option available for that I've moved towards. You can obviously purchase content on a digital library. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google Play are my 3 favorite (in no particular order) since a lot of the content syncs with the new-ish Movies Anywhere digital locker. If Movies Anywhere includes your show or movie then it syncs across all your accounts and is available everywhere. So if Google decides to stop selling movies, you can easily just switch over to Amazon, or whatever, without losing your content that you purchased.

Basically, I buy good movies and shows that I actually enjoy rather than subscribing to crappy services that rotate through a dozen or so good movies and a mountain of complete crap. I also don't have to watch commercials, and I can watch my movies on my phone or through a chromecast/fire tv/roku whenever and wherever (as long as I have internet). Also, most of these platforms allow you to download to a mobile/tablet device for streaming on a flight or train or whatever.

This can get expensive, of course, doesn't work for live events and you're still relying on all these systems staying active, but I don't like the societal move away from ownership and towards renting. If I know I love Back to the Future, why do I need to pay Netflix/HBO/cable/etc subscription so that I can hope that they add it to their library on the days that I feel interested in watching it again.

Game of Thrones Season 8 is $27 on Google Play. And if it takes you more than a month to get around to watching it, or if you ever want to watch it again ever, it won't cost you more than that. I think that's pretty nice

Game of Thrones is "Sorry! This content is not available in your country" on Google Play

In The Netherlands we have 1 cable provider that has Game of Thrones. So you're either subscribed to that provider, or you're out of luck.

It used to be that more internet/TV providers offered HBO, but apparently one bought exclusive rights hoping everybody would switch to them. I certainly didn't.

As for Pirate Buy, it's blocked in Netherland, so Kickass Torrents seems to be the place to go these days.

Pirate bay is blocked in the Netherlands, but just Google "pirate proxy" to see about two dozen sites that give you access to the pirate bay. These sites make money from inserting ads into the page while you view the pirate bay through their proxy, but you can access it just fine. (Some of them do insert a ridiculous number of ads, mostly for adult content)

Same situation in Belgium with Telenet. It's retarded.

>I never need to download MP3's since they are all available on Spotify

Except when they are not.

I recently went all in- I cancelled Spotify and bought premium YouTube and YouTube music. The music discovery system in YouTube music is far far better than anything Spotify have. I suppose it's due to YouTube already knowing what music I listen to when I can't find it on Spotify.

if not they are on youtube

(and youtube-dl can take care of extracting them to ogg/mp3/wav)

You mean you don't want to sign up for 15 different services, essentially paying more than you used to for cable, just to see all the things you used to see on cable?

I'm not interested in Belgian cable: old shows, interrupted with commercials, and not on demand. The world has moved on.

But it seems the content owners haven't moved on, and so there is no legal way for me to get HBO. So even signing up is already the problem. I wish I had the problem of having 15 different services.

Also living in Belgium and I have a Telenet internet subscription, but without a the cable-TV option. I don't watch any traditional TV, but if I want to legally see GoT, I would have no other option than to take the normal TV subscription just to be able to take the "extra shows & movies" option. I stream everything and have no problem paying for streaming services, but that I will not do.

An HBO streaming service is on my wish-list since they consistently offer quality content. However, this is not easily possible, torrenting is quicker and more practical - so yeah...

Can't you subscribe to NowTV in the UK for about €10 a month? I thought that country-by-country restrictions had been removed inside the EU by law (single digital market)

No you can't. You can't even watch BBC documentaries from the official web player here in Ireland unless you use a vpn. They are only licensed for the UK and a handful other countries. Very sad situation.

I thought that country-by-country restrictions had been removed inside the EU by law

Not for TV and streaming services.

Don't you have online HBO Go? It costs 20PLN in my country, which is around 5 euro monthly.

For reasons that probably makes sense to somebody, HBO streaming services are only available in the Nordic and Eastern regions of Europe.

Good thing for HBO there's no way someone can buy a VPN and watch their content from outside those regions

I don't know about HBO, but Netflix has spent a lot of effort building quite sophisticated methods for detecting and blocking people trying to connect via VPN

In my experience, it varies... I had one VPN service start to get blocked consistently, so I switched to another, and that's been going smoothly for two years. And I'm sure Netflix can put cookies on my machine and know what's up... I'll be in Japan and then minutes later I'm in the US again with the same computer.

I guess this is a requirement from the content owners.

It's a requirement to drive people towards torrents? Why do they keep making it hard to us to pay them for the content we want?

> And then people wonder why torrents are still so popular? Because it's the most convenient, not because it's free.

At that point, it makes more sense to just download the torrent.

Is it available for purchase on iTunes / Amazon in Belgium?

I once attended a SMPTE meeting at the Directors Guild building, where the wifi ssid was "MPAA". I took out my laptop to follow along with the specs under discussion and half way through the meeting I noticed that I had accidentally left my torrent app open and was seeding movie torrents. Whoops! :-)

oooh - so you were "honeypotting" some torrents, eh?! :-)

I stopped torrenting a long time ago. But if the media streaming market shards too much I would start again.

It is worse in India. You see a lot of popular and lesser known titles on Prime and Netflix, and buy subscriptions to those only to realise the content isn't available in your country.

I basically feel Netflix to be a rip off, and Prime's value proposition is faster deliveries, better discounts and a few free Kindle books.

And despite trying to use these services for a long time, I am still a fan and a proponent of torrents for such consumption as I get all the content, on time, on my terms and can consume it in a way I like.

Music, is sorted. TV and Movies isn't.

I subscribed to prime once here in New Zealand and discovered that the UI (at least on PS4) displays everything, and only tells you that it's not available in your country when you try to play something.

As a pretty large portion of the stuff seemed to not be available here this made it basically unusable.

I just got Prime free with a new 2Degrees account, I haven’t struck that so maybe they’re hiding the inaccessible content now. In saying that though, the content that is accessible is fairly terrible compared to Netflix’s offerings.

In smaller European countries it's even worse:

- Even though the minimum wage here is half that of the UK, for some reason Netflix is more expensive, and has less selection.

- They have no content in the official language of the country, not even subtitles. When you go to the cinema, movies are dubbed or have subtitles.

- They push a lot of Russian language content, even though most people under 35 don't speak it, and it is not even a semi official language.

Amazon don't have operations here, you can sign up to Amazon Prime for video in another country, but it only shows their own content.

sounds like Baltic states?

Did you know that you cannot legally stream My Fair Lady?

I found this out when I tried to show it to my daughters. Apparently the copyright agreements don't cover how to split the proceeds from streaming, so nobody can sell Amazon, Netflix, etc the right to stream it.

But it is on The Pirate Bay...

The same goes for Studio Ghibli’s animated movies.

...and also for WKRP In Cincinnati. Anywhere you do see it, it's not with the original music. They stripped out all the old radio tracks and replaced it with crap.

What a shame that the rights holders are so short sighted. The nostalgia those old tracks would create would surely sell more records. And it's not like anybody is going to be satisfied with replaying the video when they want the song, with the characters talking over the top of it.

Same thing happened to Daria. All the official releases have had all the then-current songs replaced with sound-alikes, placeholder music, or silence.

It's a shame as that cartoon was, and still is, A classic. I remember trying to find torrents back in the day. It's all on Hulu now. A little off topic- I apologize

Same for Malcolm in the middle.

It was not even available on dvd for a very long time. So much potential money lost.

reminds me of watching Married With Children recently, no Franky title music

Oh I wondered what happened there. I was thinking that maybe they had changed it in the later seasons but I was sure I’d never heard that version of it before.

I actually watched My Fair Lady recently ... on YouTube TV. I couldn't find it anywhere, saw it coming up in a month or three in the search box, set it to "record", watched it in a streaming-like way later.

It's weird; you can't watch it on demand, but you can virtually DVR it when it is "broadcast" at an arbitrary time.

Same, it is rare for me to torrent

As an American in Europe last month, I experienced:

Watching Showtime through Playstation Vue was impossible from European IP, and impossible through US VPN. So I torrented Billions instead of trying a redundant unportable Showtime through Amazon Video subscription, or instead of trying a redundant Showtime subscription through their native app assuming they have one.

Watching Game of Thrones through HBO Now also had the same issues. But downloading torrents over VPN worked really fast. I only used VPNs partially out of habit, and partially not to get my host (hotel/airbnb) in trouble.

Because VPNs were so readily detected and blocked, it reminded me to consider buying a dedicated IP address in a few different countries for VPN, instead of having IP addresses that all the VPN users use. I have not done this yet, as I also heard that another way to detect VPNs is by knowing if the IP block is associated with a data center. I wonder if this is really done by the services I use.

Final note is that I did notice that alot of the torrent providers are doing "webrips" now instead of ripping in the highest quality their TV provides applying compression. The webrips are noticeable worse as the streaming service already is using compression.

Kind of weird outcome currently.

Yeah, it's a B*tch, wished they'd interop more. I wanted to see if I could watch Power somewhere; I have HBO, Prime Video, YouTube Premium and Netflix... but nope, none of the four have it here in .nl. Usually, between the three I can find the things that I want to watch, but it's starting to get absurd with all the subscriptions...

It's planned obsolescence for media, remove the older media and people "have" to watch the new stuff: "you pay more because it's new" and "production of all this new stuff everyone is watching costs more, so we have to put the price up", etc..

Which ironically is what caused me to cancel my Netflix subscription. I initially subscribed mainly for the older movies & B movies that were abundant, but as other streaming services have started many of these have fragmented (and many of them just aren't available). About 3 months ago I cancelled Netflix (kept prime for shipping, Youtube premium for ad-free) when I realized that between the 3 services I couldn't even find The Maltese Falcon on 2 of them, and amazon wanted something ludicrous like $13 to rent it. Not exactly an unknown movie.

I had zero problems torrenting it, and no no moral qualms about it; I'm pretty sure all the actors & crew are dead by now and not recieving any more royalties, plus I have it on DVD but I hadn't ripped it to my NAS & don't have anything that can play DVD's connected to the TV.

In case you already know, feel free to ignore my comment, but with your Youtube premium subscription, you also get a subscription to Google Play Music (aka Spotify competitor from Google). I wish they advertised it better, because half the people I know irl who have a sub to either of them, don't realize that they get the other one for free.

i used three gmail addresses for one month trials of google play music before keeping it properly, and more recently answering dumb personal questions on the google rewards app has paid half of the monthly fee for it. i think the nicest thing about the youtube premium (if wanting to pay a bit extra than just google play music) is being able to have youtube play in the background on the phone.

newpipe is a foss program that does this for free

I came back here just to thank you for that. For others interested, newpipe is available on F-Droid. It has options for pop over video playback as well as background audio playback. Sure beats the always on Youtube app.

It supports the importing of subscriptions but doesn't seem to handle playlist import currently.

yeah, cheers, i found out about newpipe today. i was pleasantly surprised that it's easy to import subscriptions into it.

OT but how in the world do you get that many surveys in the Rewards app? I'm lucky to get $2-3/month...

i get in a loop of the same questions. i think it's because i am retired but also study

> youtube play in the background on the phone

There are simpler ways :)

Is that still the case for new customers? Even if so, sadly YouTube Music is replacing GPM.


I feel like enough is available now that I don't need to.

The system still sucks but effectively there is enough available to keep me going.

In the meantime if some media isn't convenient for me to consume, it is off my radar. I don't don't bother either way.

It feels like we're probably in, or just over, a local maxima as far as getting content at a reasonable price goes. This has obviously been a reflection of the ease of duplication and acquisition of works for free (gratis) that the internet has brought about.

Now we seem to be entering a time where, as media mega-corps have appeared and won us back to paying for content and having content easily accessible, they're starting to think they can ramp up the prices and lock away "their" content in a silo with a hefty price-tag for entry.

It seems as if we're going to move back towards a much higher price for taking part in the culture that surrounds current media; and that in turn is going to lead to more copyright infringement. Only this time the media corps have got the internet sewn up pretty well

It would be ideal if the reaction were to rest control of culture from the hands of big business a little with some statutory reform. But that in turn rests on whether countries get democratic reform to proportionalise representation and enable the tackling of smaller issues like disenfranchisement from culture and locking away of works so they can't ever enter the public domain.

I used to think this was happening with music, then I realized I completely and accidentally switched to indie distributors.

Examples: any music from “nightvale presents”, and “dark compass” podcasts. DC has an epic best of 2019 as the current episode.

I’ve had mixed luck finding works from those sources on the big streaming services, but I listen to them legally nevertheless.

I have netflix, hulu, hbogo, and prime, and I pirate stuff that's in the catalog right now as there is no guarentee it will stay in the catalog. Netflix in particular lost a ton of content over the years. Ironically, I even get better quality streaming with piracy over legal channels.

IF you're an enthusiast, big media fan. I get that, there's not enough.

For me we've reached a level I'm ok with, but it is very much based on usage.

It's not even being an enthusiast. I'll search netflix for "popular movie I watched on netflix three years ago" and it will be removed from the catalog. I don't pass go, I don't pay amazon $5 or whatever to rent, I pirate the movie.

This is in some ways good for piracy. During the 2000s the MAFIAA was heavily invested in their war on sharing sites and protocols because of how popular they were, but now with streaming taking a substantial chunk of that casual pirate audience theres less profit incentive in pushing a lot of prosecution.

It seems like the courts eventually came around to a more just way of thinking too, for example, they stopped treating the partial uploading of a single song as if the person had stolen the entire value of that song from the publishers.

Agreed. Piracy seems to have filtered into being an enthusiast thing ... or at least that perception has held off the more rabid prosecution of it, mostly.

Which, I believe, is happening, right? With new players starting their streaming services in next 1-2 years, the content will become sharded even more.

We circled. Streaming services partially were about to solve the problem of not paying serious $$$ for a cable subscription (lots of programming that people don't care about/watch) by providing a cheap, affordable service with lost of content that is interesting and worth to watch. Today, streaming services are creating the very same problem they were trying to solve.

Yes, it feels like it would be a fairly straightforward econ model actually. If the combined price for all the platforms gets too high and the user experience too terrible, then it's an easy flip to piracy. I get that all these publishing companies are trying to get as close to that line as possible, but as they're (naturally) all interested in maximizing their own profits rather than thinking about the collective industry profit, I don't doubt we'll cross that line before too long

If the media streaming market reaches a price I'm willing to pay, I might stop torrenting and streaming from other sources for the very limited non-free media I want to see or hear.


It is special, because when you steal a physical thing, the owner doesn't have that physical thing anymore. If you pirate something that you weren't gonna buy anyways, the owner still has the digital file in the exact same way they had it before you pirated. I cannot even call pirating "stealing" in good conscious tbh.

Legally, copyright infringement (and IP infringement in general) is treated more like trespassing than theft, in that you may be infringing on the owners enjoyments, rather than depriving them of property.

I would if I could do it from home with zero chance of getting caught and shop wouldn't loose the thing I stole.

If you say you wouldn't I think you are lying, mostly to yourself.

As an inveterate and unrepentant pirate, I can tell you that I would not. It is depriving someone else who deserves a thing just as much as I do. I am not paying my grocer for today's goods that I buy, I'm paying him to keep bringing goods in and having stocked shelves for myself and others. I have no such compunction toward any particular artist in any medium. If they keep creating stuff I like, good on them. If they do not, I'm totally unconcerned; because there will be others along to create something new.

This is a brutal world viewpoint

Stealing implies deprivation, not duplication. Digital copying is entirely the latter. And very few physical goods are part and parcel to culture - which should be free in any event. We are losing our ability to create mythology, because it's all being crafted for money and shoved out from corporations. Consider the case of Don Quixote - the author felt he had to write a sequel and a "closing" of the story because so many others wrote their own stories of the Man of La Mancha. Bacon pirated from Goethe, Shakespeare from a score of others. Without free duplication and access to media, there is no common conversation - we'd each be trapped in our paywalls. I refuse to accept that; and I believe that culture is more important than money ever will be. A person who creates a seminal work that gets pirated far and wide would be better off accepting it and creating another work to make something off. Either that or having a real living while he creates. The idea of "artist" as a career, especially a prestigious and high-paying career, is one of many missteps of our modern world.

> The idea of "artist" as a career, especially a prestigious and high-paying career, is one of many missteps of our modern world.

So you don't think there is anyone who is accomplished enough at being an artist that they should be able to make it a profession?

I want to experience the best artists being able to spend the time doing the best work they can possibly do, not a generation of office workers who can only afford to produce mediocre art for a maximum of a couple of hours per day, like me. :(

We need to try some different economic models for information. Is there any reason to think that treating it as private property, with artificial scarcity, is the only way that things can be organized? The laws of physics don't require it.

I agree in principle, but what are some other economic models that can work in the real world? Artists need to pay their bills, so the way I see it, they need to be paid by some mechanism.

Government funding. Governments already fund arts and science in many countries. The copyright system is propped up by government involvement anyway.

You want the government to decide what arts get funded?

I'll take the world where I can direct my funds to the projects I like, thanks. The price mechanism strictly dominates central planning in terms of welfare generation. This has been proven over and over again.

That's where the funding would come from, how it would be allocated is also a big question. If you want to apply the price mechanism to information, then you also accept copyright, artificial scarcity, and the enforcement mechanisms that go with it.

I'm more than willing to accept that until someone comes up with a better solution. I think it extremely unlikely that a centrally planned solution will ever be superior.

> I'll take the world where I can direct my funds to the projects I like, thanks.

Sure. And the government decides how many funds you direct to them to prevent freeloading. Basically Flattr, but mandatory.

> The price mechanism strictly dominates central planning in terms of welfare generation. This has been proven over and over again.

Interesting. Can you direct me to that proof? I'd love to see the math. I do know that there is empirical evidence that a dictatorship making 4 year plans does not generate much welfare if it has, at best, 1980s computing power available that is not sufficient to finish even a simplified plan within 4 years.

So you really shouldn't put people in charge whose ideology revolves around creating a planned economy as opposed to something reasonable like freedom, solidarity and democracy (including public ownership of the means of production).

> Sure. And the government decides how many funds you direct to them to prevent freeloading. Basically Flattr, but mandatory.

Uhhh got it, so the government decides how much of my money I need to direct to arts/digital goods? I have no choice in that? You want to replace a world where I can freely allocate my capital to goods that are artificially scarce (presumably you are morally opposed to this enforcement) with one where I'm forced to allocate my capital goods to $0 marginal cost goods (you aren't opposed to this enforcement, though?). I'll take the one where I have fuller choice if in either circumstance I lose some freedom. This also doesn't address issues that would certainly arise from the cost of enforcement, the likelihood of fraud, etc. and the relative cost between that and what we have today.

You should take a basic economics class if you want to fully understand how markets succeed vs centrally planned mechanisms.

However, the basics would be the following:

1) Every individual is unique and has unique preferences.

2) These preferences are private and non-discoverable by external parties but are well-known, to a point, to the individual. (Proof: see the INCREDIBLY NARROW worlds of recommendation systems where even though Netflix or Amazon or Google have massive amounts of information about your historical preferences in VERY NARROW circumstances, they still fail to provide truly great recommendations)

3) Since a central planning entity cannot know every individual's preferences but every individual can (think of market economies as distributed systems), overall welfare is maximized by individuals autonomously and freely allocating their personal capital to the goods/services/etc. that they see fit.

4) As more and more individuals bid with their capital, up to the point of negative returns for them, for goods/services/etc., producers react to produce more of these, and ideally at lower costs and higher quantities to maximize their gains and demand, in order to capture more capital for them to purchase their preferences with. This is the price mechanism and it CANNOT be replicated centrally given the unknowability of a central entity to understand preferences. NO AMOUNT of today's computing power could possibly come close. Think about how much compute goes into the shitty recommendations you get from Google/NFLX/et al. and for how narrow that realm is. You want production to be based on something like that?

Now, there are failures of market mechanisms. What happens when there are external social costs (ie C02 production from fossil fuels), or the tragedies of the commons, etc. that require central intervention to the best of its ability. Hence IP/Copyright where in a world where without it, creators have no reasonable means of capturing returns on their efforts, we must implement property rights. There is of course a great argument for much better refinement of IP laws, but they are not arguments against them.

I think the biggest problem with the information-as-property model is that it only works if its vigorously enforced world-wide. There's little or no room for even a single country to experiment with a copyright-free system. They'll be pounded into submission with the threat of trade tariffs. Even "communist" states like North Korea have signed up to the copyright system.

I think this also leaves the system somewhat unstable; all it needs is a rogue government in some place like Iceland and the likes of sci—hub and pirate bay will have a safe haven. If one country gets away with it, others would probably jump on the bandwagon, because they have little to gain by sending money to rich countries for information they could download for free.

I don't think North Korea is the best example. I can't think of a country less dedicated to the free flow of information.

> Uhhh got it, so the government decides how much of my money I need to direct to arts/digital goods?

Yes. It's not too different from taxes, but you have more choice. We could also include other projects like research, public parks, etc. The point is not to centralize control but to avoid artificial and unnecessary scarcity.

> You want to replace a world where I can freely allocate my capital to goods that are artificially scarce [...] with one where I'm forced to allocate my capital goods to $0 marginal cost goods (you aren't opposed to this enforcement, though?).

Yes, I want to replace a world where things are artificially scarce with one where they are not.

> presumably you are morally opposed to this enforcement

It's a question of efficiency. Limiting access to goods with zero marginal cost is just a waste.

But yes, I'm morally opposed to reducing the general welfare.

> I'll take the one where I have fuller choice if in either circumstance I lose some freedom.

Then you should be in favor of removing artificial scarcity. It removes people's freedom to use media for no good reason. Of course, if you're wealthy enough that this does not restrict you, you may benefit. But don't forget that in that case, you defend your privileges at the expense of others' freedom.

> This also doesn't address issues that would certainly arise from the cost of enforcement, the likelihood of fraud, etc.

Sorry for not writing a fully fleshed out bill ready to be passed into law.

> You should take a basic economics class if you want to fully understand how markets succeed vs centrally planned mechanisms.

No thanks, I already know the crude model of the economy a basic economics class teaches.

> 1) Every individual is unique and has unique preferences.

> 2) These preferences are private and non-discoverable by external parties but are well-known, to a point, to the individual.

The need of companies for input products, however, is discoverable.

> Proof

No, evidence. This isn't math.

> 3) Since a central planning entity cannot know every individual's preferences


> but every individual can

I don't think a psychologist would agree with that statement. But there are good reasons to pretend it's true anyway.

> (think of market economies as distributed systems), overall welfare is maximized by individuals autonomously and freely allocating their personal capital to the goods/services/etc. that they see fit.

Only assuming everyone has the same income or at least the same earning power (working less in exchange for earning less is a valid choice). Otherwise, some peoples' welfare is weighted higher than others'.

> 4) As more and more individuals bid with their capital, up to the point of negative returns for them, for goods/services/etc., producers react to produce more of these,

Of course. If people buy more or less of something than was predicted, you have to change the plan. Central planning can reduce this issue compared to a pile of uncoordinated competing capitalists, but it cannot eliminate it.

That's a problem if calculating a plan takes years. With today's technology, it isn't.

> Think about how much compute goes into the shitty recommendations you get from Google/NFLX/et al. and for how narrow that realm is.

Incompetence isn't the only reason why those recommendations are so shitty. Netflix, at least, tries to push their "originals" and other films and series that are cheap for them. They also try to hide how limited their catalog is, due to intellectual property. They use DRM because their aim is not to provide a good service, but to make a profit. By using DRM they force you to use their client. Capitalism is actually reducing choice and competition here.

it's just the consumer's version of Hollywood Accounting: sorry, but there's just no money left to pay you :(

The unending walled gardens that the streaming service landscape is becoming is the main driver for torrent usage increasing. The more content becomes exclusive to single streaming services, the less consumers benefit from the convenience that the services originally provided.

This video describes the problem really well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDF-S68kx5o

Disney recently took full control of Hulu, so theres a little less threat of fragmentation in that piece of the streaming ecosystem.

streaming services lack a lot of content I love to watch.

I was trying to show a tv show to my girlfriend last week, it was from 2007, not crazy long time ago, it's just 12 years ago and there was no way to find it legally.

Teh only place where I found it was Amazon prime video, as a per episode paid download, not in streaming, but it wasn't available in my country, even though I'm a primenow subscriber.

I ended up torrenting it (and the only torrent site where I found it was thepiratebay, nobody else had it)

in Australia there’s absolutely no better way to obtain media besides piracy. Our options are both expensive and terrible. I’ll probably never stop.

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