As I remind my readers every month, I’m in the process of assembling my music library for my iPod. I keep a list of all the songs I’ve yet to own, and every month I spend a certain amount of money getting songs from that list.
I used to do the same thing with DVDs. I have a list of all the TV shows and movies I want to have at my fingertips whenever I want to watch them, and every month I would buy two or three of them. But then I stopped.
I believe strongly that an artist has the right to be paid for the enjoyment of their art. “I want it but I don’t want to spend the money that costs” is not a sufficient justification to me for stealing that art.
But I’m only willing to pay a fair price, and it occurred to me that DVDs simple aren’t priced fairly. In ten years, they’re going to be as obsolete as CDs. It’s going to be as universal to download our movies as it is to download our music. (It’s pretty commonplace now.) So I’m no longer willing to pay $20 for a physical copy of a movie that should only cost me $10 to get online.
This doesn’t mean I download my movies now, either legally or illegally. One of the things about coming to a decision not to buy DVDs anymore was that it forced me to consider whether or not buying movies at all was worth the expense, and I decided that I really don’t watch any given movie enough to justify how much it costs to download it. And the thing about downloads is, if I decide there really is a movie I want to watch right now, I can just go get it instantly, rather than driving to the shop (and potentially having to wait six hours for it to open, since I’ve decided I want to watch the movie at 2AM).
The one exception is Doctor Who. I’ve started buying Doctor Who DVDs again, right now at the rate of three a month. This came from a trip to Barnes & Noble, where I came across all the Who DVDs that had been released since I stopped buying DVDs two years ago. Thumbing through them brought back to me how much fun it had been to watch all that Classic Who for the first time in fifteen years. And besides, The Boy and I have such fun watching the new purchases early in every month.