There has been a minor whirlwind of articles about this subject in the past few weeks that started in response to an article written by an NPR intern and college radio station general manager, Emily White, who copped to owning thousands of songs and paying for almost none. This was followed by many passionate responses (on both sides, it turns out) and what I fear will be a soon-forgotten and short-lived desire to discuss a better way for musicians to make a living making music. You can read two of the responses here and here. You can also read a great response to the whole hulabaloo by Scott Collins, writer of the Guitarchitecture Blog.
To me, the mind-boggling quote from the initial article (Emily White’s) is the last sentence: “All I require is the ability to listen to what I want, when I want and how I want it. Is that too much to ask?”. I think most of us would agree that having what we want when we want it and how we want is, in fact, not something we would generally take for granted. To require it seems a little much. I can’t quite tell if this question is a joke or not, but it doesn’t seem like one to me (and, really, the fact that most people can have the music they want when and how they want it is precisely the problem).
Having seen from all sides what goes into making a recording, it’s amazing to me that so many people think that music should be free (same holds true for books and films, of course). The ethos seems to be that if it can be reproduced easily, then why bother paying for it. I don’t have any major insight into the issue, and I do think that something has been gained by removing the major record labels as the exclusive purveyors of music or taste makers, but the situation hardly seems tenable going forward if we remove the incentive for people to record their music.
Actually, I’m mostly curious to see what you all have to say about it, since we’re all musicians here. Any thoughts?
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