I don’t know if I’ve ever bought digital music. Do soundtracks that are bundled with games count?

Usually if I want a track I’ll just download it for free.

Yes, I know, I’m a monster.

However I’ve been listening to a lot of Childish Gambino recently, as in the last year. I’m still not bored of Donald Glover’s music which surprises me as normally I get tired of tracks relatively quickly. I downloaded them from his SoundCloud page, by the way.

Today I visited his site to see whether there was anything new, either free or paid for. It didn’t conveniently go to any music service or similar so I tried the store link which dumped me in something called “Cinder Block”. Erm, okay?

Ugh. I do not enjoy stupid branding conflicts. The page title says “Cinder Block | Cinder Block Store for Childish Gambino” at the time of writing. I have no idea what “Cinder Block” is or why I should care. Then there’s this banner, bold as brass in the middle of the page:header

So which is it? Cinder Block or Childish Gambino?

rapidssl_ssl_certificateThe footer even includes one of these animated GIFs. In 2013.

I trusted it until I saw that. Your animated GIF touting your security undermines my faith in your technical abilities.

Right at the bottom of the catalogue I spotted this:camp-album-download-2011

Camp (Album Download) (2011)
$9.99


Unfortunately the album description included this pic:

childish-gambino-camp-full-album-stream-1

Erk.

“Click on image to zoom” did nothing either. Brilliant.

Anyway the album is $10 (US) and has this written in its description:

Childish Gambino - Camp (Album Download) (2011)

Music downloads from this store are only available in the United States. International fans can visit iTunes. Downloads are quality 256kbps MP3 files compatible with virtually every digital music player including itunes.

So not only does it tell me nothing about the album (Who is featured with Childish Gambino? Is it his third album? Anything?) but also doesn’t actually link to iTunes for anyone outside the US. Brimming over with confidence at this point.

Anyway I’m not paying $10 for the album whether I can download it or not. To me that is too much. Yes, I’m a skinflint.

However as there’s no “pay what you want” option that means that rather than get $6.50 from me they get precisely nothing.

In the world of CDs paying less than the asking price might be too little to pay the costs of production but without that hurdle the marginal cost per download is negligible. Marginal cost.

I specify as there are still costs associated with making an album but whether I download it or not they won’t be affected. Therefore if I download it they lose nothing, effectively, but if I download it and choose to pay anything they’re making some money. Some money is better than no money in the case of goods that have no objective value.

A hammer is always a hammer but an album of music has no value unless someone enjoys the contents.

So it would seem Donald will have to settle for no money from me for now. I’d pay a reasonable sum to see him live though, that’d be fun!

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