It's A Free World (Baby)

I love the internet. I also hate it. I have no idea how we managed without it. It's a bloody time vacuum though, isn't it? The time you're spending reading this could probably be spent more productively, as could the time I'm spending typing it. This is me thinking direct to print, if it was a podcast I'd be thinking aloud, both of which are equally dangerous for all concerned.

The net seems to put so much at our fingertips - with every keystroke I feel like I'm either on the edge of some great revelation or equally likely to fall off the precipice into a porn explosion. Accidentally of course, the purveyors of porn have cornered the market in search engine optimisation, google anything and you'll get a porn option at some point or other. Or maybe that's just the things I search for.......

Sadly we don't seem to be too willing to pay for what we get online. We use it to find stuff cheaper or, preferably, free. You aren't paying to read this and I'm not getting paid to write it - is this the future of journalism, the uneducated spouting off for the pleasure of the illiterate? I mean no offence but if I wasn't a fame-junkie who needs the ego-boost of having his name in 'print' then neither of us would be here now. You wouldn't be having your time wasted by me - it'd probably be someone else instead.

The music industry was first to feel the impact of global data transfer and a recent report stated that '95% of downloaded music is illegal' (source; IFPI Digital Music Report 2008). The upshot of this is that a whole generation is emerging, a generation who believe that everything is meant to be free - from information to music. The long-term impact of this is a world of entertainment with no obvious means of funding itself. Do we not all believe in a fair wage for a service provided?

What the new generation term 'dead-tree-media' is in serious decline, all news media has a surfeit of competition - instant or otherwise. All old media has invested in new media outlets with no real idea of when one will eventually replace the other, and even if the new can survive as an independent entity.

As the global markets head for recession, we may all find ourselves in a position where bartering of a service is the only worthwhile currency. In this market do I have anything you'd pay for? I don't have any practical talents as such and the editors of the Mercury may be paying the right price for these musings. Could I really feed my children with my knowledge of the UK live music industry and a large slice of media experience? It's already tough out there; perhaps I need to think about starting an allotment.

I don't want to worry you, but in the cold light of economic collapse you may want to analyse what you're worth. I've started to wonder, and it's bloody scary. All contributions to the Paul Flower preservation fund (PFPF) welcomed - I clearly can't trust any banks so send me your pledges and I'll advise on the appropriate transfer method.