The file sharing debate often generates more heat than light, but this open letter from Cracker's David Lowery is worth reading.
I don't agree with him 100%, but I certainly agree with the essence. Most of the arguments in favor of peer-to-peer music distribution are self-serving nonsense. Was the music industry slow to react to online distribution of music? Do copyright owners continue to get it wrong? Is Apple gouging both consumers and content providers? Is file sharing impossible to stop? Yes, yes, yes and yes.
Deciding on music as a career doesn't entitle you to a living. But if you are a successful musician and there are hundreds of thousands of people hearing and enjoying your music and you get no financial return, there is something very wrong.
Emily White's NPR blog post is here.
Industry veteran / iconoclast Bob Lefsetz weighs in here. My problem with Lefsetz is the disconnect between his pragmatic view (that the world has changed and you'd better change with it) and the ethics of file-sharing.
Personally, I can't escape the conclusion that someone who admits to having 11,000 songs - while paying for less than 20 CDs - has been caught stealing.
What do you think?
I'm not a jazz person, at least not post war jazz...so my opinion on jazz piano is worthless...my stuff is Elvis, and people that sound like him (as if), Hank, Autry, Dylan, Jennings, Baez, Stones, CCR, etc...and believe me, even if it's Neil Young, the CD has the potential to be vastly superior...vinyl does wear out, as does shellac (a subject mostly forgotten in this thread)...but "potential" is the key word...there is the issue of remastering...the engineer in the remastering process has a control over the final sound of a CD that can make or break it for an individual listener...too much bass for you might be just right for me...and it has nothing to do with the original intent, unless the original artist is present in the remastering process...there is a cutting edge clearness, an original sounding crispness, a window shattering brightness that I hear when I play my 78 of Believe What You Say, Ooby Dooby or Good Rockin' Tonight that just isn't there in remastered CDs...of course, Ricky, Roy and Elvis probably didn't have much input to the primitive remastering of their 50s records anyway, so who knows if even the original 78s are what they wanted...but at least they (or the 45 equivalent) are what came out
My vinyl is coming out of the closet and the Discwasher is being put back into service. They are warm and the surface noise, the pops and clicks...they make me remember how they got there. CDs were easy and seemed indestructible and would last forever. Now, when I occasionally listen to one, it feels one dimensional and lacking in tone and bottom. But a file...I love my files. They have no weight, only depth. They are portable and take up hardly any space. With a pair of well made isolating earphones, there's nothing they can't deliver. When I was younger I'd share my music, but now it's just one to one. Should I really want to turn you on, I'll zip it up and send it to you. Does that make me a sharer? An outlaw? I think not. See how we get back on topic?
CD's that have no top and bottom - that's usually just bad mastering, not an inherent fault with CD. But I get how you CAN enjoy the pops and clicks. Hell, they ADDED vinyl noise to a lot of hip hop stuff in the 90s.
(Digressing a little) I love the earlier Billie Holiday recordings, which are less than hi-fi, because they speak of their time. They are like sepia photographs - not the best reflection of reality, but sometimes better for that.
On the other hand, the Robert Johnson recordings are like a badly faded photograph. You can only guess what he really sounded like.
Veering off topic and I am sympathetic to the struggling artists but.......
1-If you want me to come see you live on a Monday night start your set before midnight.
2-Don't play an obligatory 1 hour set, smoke a cig and then come back for three songs (see Springsteen).
3-Hang out if only briefly to meet and greet fans.
"If you want me to come see you live on a Monday night start your set before midnight."
When I worked in Hollywood for a major distributor with multiple labels, there was a show every night somewhere. And of course as one of the management types the expectation would be you'd hang around the office til 7, meet clients for dinner and drinks at 7:30, get to the venue at 10, go backstage and hang with the artist til 11, and wait. And stay til the end, go backstage again and say..."Wow...you were great". Right. Sure. Yep. I lived about an hour south and am proud to have perfected the famous "schmooze and cruise".
boy Hal, can I agree with that...I'm an old guy, don't like staying up til midnight...if it was up to me, concerts would start at 1 pm
Something not mentioned yet is if the consumer isn't shooting themselves in the foot as far as music quality and creativity is concerned.
My first sessions were in a NYC demo studio and there would be a few of us in a room with our charts and we'd be looking at each other and play the background together. Last week out of curiosity I went into my computer and pulled up session drummer for the drums, a piano loop, a bass loop and a guitar loop. I then stretched them out to a little less than 3 min. Added a guitar part and did a crunching compression to kill all dynamics. It took less than 15 min to complete the entire song and sadly a few people actually liked it. I pulled the song off my site because it was really just an experiment.
I just wonder with economics the way they are how much music will eventually be as formulated as my experiment. The people that ultimately suffer are the listeners. Just a concern I didn't notice getting mentioned.
Just saw this on Twitter and made me think of a smaller portion of this discussion that was used as an example at large...
"An open letter to the shoplifter caught stealing my book"
@Stina. That's a great read. Since we had this debate last June/July, I joined Spotify and understand better the points Easy Ed and Karla were making, not about the morality of stealing music, but about the very concepts of owning and consuming music. Spotify (and Rhapsody etc) exist in some previously unknown space between radio and iTunes, and it's really hard to put a price on. (Birmingham is a good writer. It's pathetic, but I get a bit of a thrill when something Australian is quoted at ND. With the exception of Hillsong.)
I'm intrigued by Spotify - miffs me a little that Canadians can't get it yet.
It really is a touchy subject in all fields. (Stealing digital copies of items). I know this is literally a physical book but the author mentions digital files so I thought it applied as a spin off to here. Interesting anyways. Well written also.