I just read an excellent new essay called The Case Against Free in wihch the author suggests that the "free economy" is drying up the economic resources needed to make quality creative works. The article focuses on recordings. It's a well written, no-holds-barred essay that has a lot of say about where the recording community is headed if the value of records continues to approach zero.

Read the article here: The Case Against Free

The Aesthetic Revolution will be Beautiful!

Allen Farmelo

Mon, Apr 21, 2014 - 7:10AM
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Tue, Mar 19, 2013 - 10:25AM
Will said about this:

I think he raises some good points that I have been pondering lately. However I would say this. TV (before cable) and radio were always "free" with one caveat. There were/are commercials. Radio did not diminish the creative element of records, it served as a source of advertising in and of itself for the artists being played. It's true that Spotify does not pay artists well, but in theory this model could be the same as radio. It's "free" but there is advertising. In a perfect world the artists would be payed a fair amount, I'm not quite sure how to make that happen.

 
Tue, Mar 19, 2013 - 11:23AM
Justin Colletti said about this:

It is indeed a good article. Chris Ruen's book, on which it is based, is a good read too! Definitely worth picking up. I've been recommending both wherever and whenever I can.

David Byrne has been a great proponent of some of these ideas in recent years as well. He's been doing some great panels and writing around the idea of artists' rights in the digital age. (He also successfully sued a big-money senatorial candidate who used his song "Road To Nowhere" in a political campaign without permission.)

I'd also recommend checking out David Lowery's new interviews on NPR's On The Media and SonicScoop's InputOutput podcast. Essential listening.

A lot of these issues haven't been addressed properly in a long while. So much of the fundamental economic truth and underlying ethics have been buried beneath marketing rhetoric advanced by the big tech tech lobby over the past decade or so.

A major change in the conversation around creative rights and compensation really is coming down the pike.

 
Wed, Mar 20, 2013 - 6:46AM
Bebio said about this:

I agree on principle that musicians should be paid for the consumption of music, but I ended up disagreeing with most of the points written in the article. To focus on the "free economy" (or in other words, advances in technology and software) as the breeder of an endless of mass of amoral "pirates", and as the main culprit of the declining wages of musicians is a tired theme and it's explaining the topic in an over simplistic way.

Without wanting to tire you, I wrote a long yet clear text in my blog, regarding the economic mess that created a generation of people unable or unwilling to pay more for things.

People did not become pirates just because Napster existed; there were other factors at work, such as major US wars since 2001, the outsourcing of jobs to developing economies, the Leeman Shock, the auto industry and housing industry crises, all of which combined with digital sharing, meant that people had a reduced power of purchase. Their money is also being monopolized by the big bands to which they are loyal, with expensive concert tickets and luxury deluxe editions. This all means that there is less money than ever available for new artists, even as digital distribution has allowed unprecedented masses of new artists to get their music heard.

Please read the whole thing here.
http://mrbsguerrilatacticsinedojipangu.blogspot.jp/2013/03/response-to-tape-op-article-about-free.html

 
Mon, Mar 25, 2013 - 9:43PM
Brent said about this:

TV and Radio are moot points? Why? Different times. Back in the day, there were just a few channels on that free TV, and there were only so many programs for music. You NEEDED TV. Back before CDs, toward the end of cassette, radio was still viable and had a captive audience. You NEEDED radio. Not only were TV, Radio and Touring how you got exposure to sell the product, musicians were paid money to be on them. Now, everything is hyper-niche marketed, the people pie has been sliced into so many pieces that it is just a big goopy mess. Now product is free, the demand for a hit out of the shoot is higher than ever, and there is little hope of recouping expenses unless you are huge already.
I know of bands paying $50k to play Rockfest, the largest one-day rock festival in the USA. They give CDs away for free, offer free downloads, and pay $50k in hopes of attracting more non-paying fans. I don't get it.

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