There is a scene in the movie Rollerball where a professional athlete attempts to access a library. If this isn't funny enough of a premise, the real punch line is that the library has no books, just digital summaries that have been heavily edited and censored. Nobody burned the books. They were just casualties of convenience - of generations acquiescing to technocrats' call to upgrade and update. Today, the music consumer is faced with the most insidious threat to personal choice imaginable - the dominance of streaming services. According to the latest news sources (presumably not fake), consumers now want "access" more than "ownership." This is a frightening shift in our civilization, because it suggests that people can be lulled into giving up the concept of private property. We at Fool's Errand Records completely understand the lure of streaming services. We enjoy creating long playlists and the convenience of streaming. But streaming should not be seen as a replacement for owning a copy - some kind of copy - of a fixed recording. Why? For the same reason that it's easier to kick a renter out onto the street than it is a homeowner. Let's suppose that you stop buying music altogether - no CDs, no vinyl, no downloads. Instead, you subscribe to a streaming service because you can find just about anything. You're happy. Your apartment has more space. Then one day you go to listen to your very favorite album, but it's vanished! Poof! Just...gone. No explanation. Maybe the artist got into a contract fight with the service. Maybe somebody accused somebody of a copyright violation. Doesn't matter. You're favorite music is gone. So you go looking for another service. This happens all the time. I was watching my favorite Dr. Who episodes on Netflix when suddenly one day - poof! No Doctor Who on Netflix. Movies disappear from streaming sites all the time. Music disappears and all you see is a dull greyed out song title that refuses to play.

Now let's take this idea into the future. One day a nefarious hacker finds a way to hack into the world's streaming sites and convert every Led Zeppelin file into a Vanilla Ice file. Or let's say that whole genres of music are suddenly deemed "culturally degenerate" by some digital Nazi or maladjusted social justice warrior. A few decades forward from that, and the predicted Singularity of artificial intelligence may render super machines that come up with all sorts of unforeseen reasons to block us from the very so-called reliable cloud systems that hold all our personal media and content. In the cinematic masterpiece, Colossus: The Forbin Project, a supercomputer programmed to protect humanity from nuclear holocaust quickly deduces the most efficient way to do that is to constantly threaten humanity with nuclear holocaust to eliminate freewill. As we give smarter computer systems more control over our lives, it is inevitable that both machines and men will emerge - either out of good intention or bad - who quickly realize the easiest way to control us is to control our access to the things that really matter to us.  But no one will ever be able to hack into my turntable.

The point is that if you rely on the flimsy ether of the Internet to be the trusted vault of your precious record collection, you are vulnerable to losing the soundtracks of your life.

Someone once said that content is king - not the packaging. Well, I love a good shot of Irish whiskey, but I don't want it poured into my naked hand. The shot glass is essential to the enjoyment of the drink. The glass holds the drink so I can sip it. Music is an intangible product that can be "held" in a variety of ways. Choose your favorite way of holding it, but don't let anybody fool you into thinking streaming music and other puffs of air will always be around when you need them most. If you want to be sure the music you love will always be at your fingertips - buy a copy of the album!!