" Um, there is TONS of modified software, most especially Super Mario Bros. It's definitely easier to recycle pre-existing game engines, hence why so many developers have: Unreal, Quake, NeoAxis, Cipher, etc. "
A good point.
If I remember correctly ( I might be wrong but I don't have time to look it up right now ) The first Witcher game was built extensively on a modified 'Aurora' game engine, the one used to build 'Neverwinter Nights'. I could be wrong though. I'm sure someone will correct me if i'm off base.
" They all preach "originality" and all try to stay away as far as possible from each-other idea-wise but how is it that 90% of everything I'm seeing these days looks like it was made by the same 10 artists? (If I didn't know better I'd say it was)"
You're more correct than you know. Grab a list of today's most popular songs. Research them to find out who actually wrote the song ( not who performed it ). You'll probably not be surprised to see a lot of the same writers for the different performers. The recording industry has a relatively modest pool of songwriters who's songs get passed to different performers, as the label sees fit. This helps contribute to the bland 'sameness' of pop music.
" Well, they still aren't allowed to sell MP3s to every country where they have a store, let alone other countries in the world, so there's that... At least Apple are able to sell to a large proportion of the potential customers in the world. "
I would say this underscores what's WRONG with the system, not how great Apple is. Artificial scarcity is a bad thing. You know as well as I this pushes those who would buy to finding alternate means of acquiring what they want. There is no such thing as artificial scarcity on the internet, and there isn't any way of forcing it to exist. Your own statement suggests that Apple STILL can't reach the whole world. If it did, THAT might bring back paying customers.
I still have one of the first consumer MP3 players, tucked away in a drawer, a Diamond RIO PMP300. I bought it in late 1998, used, at a local computer flea market. The first Ipods didn't appear until 2001. The music industry tried VERY hard to eliminate the RIO and fortunately they failed. Apple did make a lot of changes and improvements by building on the RIO's 'prior art'. Many companies did, and now there are a lot of very good MP3 players that are every bit as good as the IPOD, but for half the price.
Apple didn't invent easy online distribution either. they built upon the success of Napster. Also AllofMP3 was a better and even more popular service than Itunes. They had a better pricing structure, more choices of songs and artists, choice of sound quality and no DRM. AllofMP3 also PAID THE PROPER ROYALTIES to the extorti ... ahem .. collection society in their country and was a completely legal service. They were shuttered anyway.
Apple is a company that has been built almost entirely on the 'prior art' and ideas of others, and uses it's success to try to ensure that others are not able to do the same.
It was 'easy to listen and live music' well before Apple came into the market, and the competition has always been less expensive.
I do agree though that whatever happens to the record companies is their own fault for not seeing the money that was there for the taking. They are idiots.
" that is unless you're still illegally downloading them and screwing the artists and record companies. "
It has been proven that downloading doesn't affect sales one teensy little bit. Downloading has never hurt artists or labels, they know it.
No one has screwed the artists more than the labels have, and they know it. I think you do too.