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They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but it's easy to assume that a thing actually is a book if it looks like one. What's on the outside gives an indication of what's inside and sets up our expectations. Still, some things that look like books aren't books at all.
book
Like the book-shaped money bank, packaging is protection and deception. Packages contain RFIDs that scream "thief!" at store exits if left active. Who or what is it that's being protected?
Music is still available in packages. It's possible to buy a record and add it to your collection, but you are being deceived if you think that you own the music. You only own a recording. Those who own the music in the package resent the fact that a copy has gotten away from them. If they had their way, you wouldn't be allowed by law to sell or give that record away to anyone else, or even play it in public, without paying more for the privilege. Their ideal is the jukebox, except that if they could figure out how to do it they would set it up so that only the person who dropped a quarter in could hear it play. Imagine how much richer they could be if they could figure out how to do this!
Instead, they've come up with something even better. They make it easy to rent music. It's the perfect solution to their problem. They've eliminated the package, and you pay for the music at a small constant rate, even when you're not actually listening to it.
I've been involved with music packages from the music creators point of view since the 1980's, when I registered songs I had written with the music rights organization BMI. I found that I had to register as both songwriter and song publisher to get everything that I had coming to me from the use of my songs on radio and in clubs. It was easy to do this, and being registered has served me well, but it got me interested in the rather obscure history of copyrights and performance rights, things you can now learn about online.

In a nutshell, song writers are eligible to be paid for the sale of copies of their song and for the playing of their song in public. These small payments are called royalties, and while the amount paid per each sale or performance is small, they can add up. It's a great racket- you can do some work once and collect on it for life! It's no wonder that everyone wants a piece of it.

You can pass this ownership to your descendants, or sell it to someone else if you want to. But remember- the thing you own isn't subject to being taxed like real estate or destroyed or diminished by use like other forms of property. It doesn't give out or wear out, and it retains its value for as long as governments exist to enforce the laws. All you have to do is show a little interest in protecting your ownership, by reporting theft to your rights organization. And they do their work at no direct cost to you.

This sounds like a dream, and as I learned more about it I discovered that the businesses that own a lot of music will go the great lengths to increase the sales and performance of their own music, to the extent of buying up or excluding music that they don't own from being widely heard. It's only normal and natural that they should do this, of course, seeing as we live in a society. It does distort the value of music however. This can make it tough for a guy like me.

Sometime in the 1990's I had access to a compact disk writer, back before computer CD drives were capable of writing music disks. I used it to burn twelve copies of my songs on CDs I called Loves' Algebra and sent off to 12 people I had selected as likely vectors to spread the songs on them.
CD cover Love's Algebra
Turns out that those early writable compact disks had a very short life expectancy, so my idea that Loves' Algebra could be dug out of an old landfill a thousand years in the future and be listened to was as silly as thinking that the random friends and strangers I had sent them to could somehow spread my music around for me. But hope springs eternal! Soon after this a more likely distribution method came into existance.
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