Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Continuing the Discourse.....

Take a couple minutes to read this thoughtful, well-written article on downloading/generation "free"/Spotify, etc, etc.



7 comments:

rootless said...

This was an excellent essay, makes great points. My feelings on music piracy continue to evolve, and through learning more have moved from the idea that "Free Culture" (though I personally never used that term) liberated musicians to make money directly from their fans through playing live (disintermediation in a way) and selling merch. I now understand that this isn't really a sustainable model for musicians to have real careers.

I've really enjoyed using Spotify, but I'm disturbed by what I've heard about how artists are compensated, and conversely how well compensated their CEO is how much money record companies have made.

Still, it's such a great way to check out music for me. I read a review and just want to hear if I like something and I don't want to drop $10 and find I don't.

But I'm open to paying more than $10 for music in a way I'm getting from Spotify. Perhaps quite a bit more.

Bill Zink said...

I appreciate this article, but I think it's misguided: the answer is not the commodification of music, and the whole concept of "intellectual property" is an atrocity. Even if everyone paid for every download, the lives of the vast majority of musicians would not be materially improved; people would just download less.

The best way to improve musician's lives is to improve the conditions of the middle, working, and sub-working classes, which the overwhelming majority of musicians occupy. Affordable healthcare is infinitely more important than ant-piracy legislation when it comes to improving the lives of musicians.

And, by citing Mark Linkous and Vic Chestnutt, he was essentially saying that piracy led these guys to commit suicide, and that's complete bullshit.

I've got a lot more to say about this (yeah, I know, who'd a thunk it?), so I'll post a link when I get finished.

DC said...

All his points re: google, phone providers, etc. making money off of illegal downloads are right on and that’s an angle I’ve never considered before.

But Spotify… as a consumer, I really like Spotify. I like the product, I like creating a playlist on my phone that is then waiting for me at home and on my laptop at work. The music that is available is satisfactory.

If something new comes out that I want and it’s not on Spotify, I have to decide if I am willing to pay $9.99 on it or not.

Spotify is a legit, legal business. Downloading illegally… I get it. It’s stealing, no matter how you try to justify it, and taking money from an artist. Anything on Spotify, however, is up there pursuant to an agreement with Spotify and the artist, or Spotify and the label. If the artist doesn’t want to sell their music pursuant to that business model, don’t put it up there. If you don’t want your label giving your stuff to Spotify, you should have gone with a different label.

To put the onus on the consumer to pay more money because it’s “right” is crazy. I would never go to buy an iPhone and say “let me pay an extra $100 to try to compensate the factory workers”. Or apply that same reasoning to any other industry or business.

Spotify may be a bum deal for artists, but if they want that to change they need to pull their songs off Spotify. Without the artist and music, Spotify ceases to exist. Don’t blame the consumer for partaking in the deal that you agreed to.

I’m sure there is an angle I’m missing, so bring it on…

CS said...

Bill is, as usual--well, except where headache inducing "sound" is concerned--correct. National healthcare, and economy that more equitably distributes income... fucking A right.

DC is also right. You can't blame Spotify. It's valid and it's a choice for the artist. I think though, things will improve. This article from the times the other day seems to be pointing in that direction (though, as you'll see, it's still not all rosy): http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/18/business/media/digital-radio-royalties-start-to-add-up.html?_r=1

shadow of shathragot said...

The only difference between now and the good'ol days is volume. Today we can download terrabytes of music in a few hours. In junior high we had to use hi speed dubbing to make our tapes. I think in high school Ator copied the first Fugazi record for me on tape. I don't see a way to stop the technology, at least with Spotify an artist can make a few bucks.

Can you sustain a career? Probably not, but I think touring, merch, licensing is how major coin is made for the artist. As far as dudes committing suicide, while tragic, it is quite a leap to suggest illegal downloading or lack of income from it played a signifiant role.

You can always choose a different lifestyle if the choice is being an artist or suicide. David Lowery was in Cracker and is now a professor from what I hear.

DC said...

I'd do $20 a month for Spotify if i knew it was going to the artists.

EJ said...

Just read the article. totally dug it. I agree that it's really up to the individual consumer to take responsibility to act morally and ethically to pay for music...however, there is really no way in place to enforce a policy like that. I think it comes down to what's "cool"...the article cited a great example of how it's "cool" to pay extra money for fair trade, sweat-shop free, organic, and "green" products right now...but unfortunately this trend hasn't reached the musicians who make music. Music has somehow become this commodity that's taken for granted..."if it's so ubiquitous, and can be accessed and enjoyed from virtually anywhere, why should I have to pay for it?" I still think the Spotify preys on this kind of mentality. Sorry, DC. At the same time, it's not going anywhere, so again, I feel like it's up to music consumers to make the best informed, educated decision he or she can...