I received an email from crunchyroll this morning telling me that I could buy Tsuritama on BluRay for a heavily discounted price that was still over £30. Don't get me wrong, Tsuritama is an awesome show and I've spent more money on worse, but the issue is more that that's my only option.
Of course, crunchyroll is a great service in that it allows me access to all dem animus but it doesn't let me own dem animus in any way; it also hinges on me being able to get my internet connection to do anything at all, which it can't because Britain. BluRays do afford me that luxury but they also afford me the luxuries of taking up a whole load of space and then mysteriously disappearing when I move house. I'm not saying I don't enjoy an element of mystery in my life but I'd rather it didn't come at the expense of the things I like having.
I see digital downloads as being a far more permanent form of ownership. As long as you rely on a physical medium the content doesn't belong to you, it belongs to that medium. The thing is that the vast majority of popular TV and film is well aware of this. I can buy the latest blockbusters on my computer and have it available forever more, no matter what happens to that computer and I'll merrily have a copy on my phone and on my tablet.
Physically, there shouldn't be any reason to not be able to do this and all common sense would suggest that it's a far cheaper distribution method. It's why nobody pays for pirated DVDs anymore, because downloads are free. If pirates have worked this out, how have the distributors not?
Now, I do own hundreds of pounds of anime in BluRay and DVD form and I especially like the BluRay because it tends to be far easier to work with when it comes to region control. The thing is that a lot of it is still in the shrink wrap because it's far more convenient to have a pristine copy on my hard drive to watch whenever I want and not have to fire up the PS3. It's an old way of working and it's a marvel we do it at all.
I could now talk about international copyrights and the like but really I wanted to talk about something else. Music.
I spent all morning with 1000% Love stuck in my head. This isn't because I heard it on the way into work; it sure as hell isn't on the radio and there's no way for me to legally buy the song in Britain. The thing is that this is a song in a language I don't know which I'm singing along to spontaneously after weeks or months of not hearing it. If that song were 70p on iTunes I would buy it in a heartbeat.
And there's the rub. We all complain about how hard it is to get anime and how expensive it is once you get it, but a pound a pop for the theme tunes is something we would lap up. Hell, one of my flat mates knows nothing about anime but sat in on a couple of episodes of Shiki and all of SAO and now he can't get enough of their respective OPs. That man buys any song that's stuck in his head instantly but he can't. Instead we get these dire karaoke albums of people cashing in on our desire for these songs to be part of the soundtrack of our days.
Somebody get on the blower to Pony Canyon and iTunes and sort it out. It's free money that we're pissing up the wall releasing collector's edition BluRays and could be helping fund our favourite struggling industry.
Don't worry, I'll get back to Tsuritama later on. For now, I'm off to see what else is on.