Saturday, April 24, 2010

Let Them Eat ... Nothing!

I'm not in the norm.  I'm an Internet user, but I'm not cheap.  I actually end up paying for my music.  (Not the stuff I get for review, mind you, but the stuff I download.)  Yeah, I pay for it, and I'm more than fine with that.  And while I've bought bootlegs in the past, the bootlegs have always been of live performances or songs that were never released up until that moment.  Downloading music illegally, to me, has always left me feeling kind of cold ... something people who read me on a regular basis know.

Paul Weller of The Jam (you should know of this band) put it best in an interview in Spin.  What he said was so succinct, so complete, that I'm quoting him here, and then I'm offering a challenge.

"They fucking say the live thing is where the money is, but tell that to my mates in club bands.  They're making 100 pounds a night.  I don't know what that is in American dollars, but it's fuck all.  A lot of us are still living on baked beans, man.  The atmosphere's scary.  I don't understand this thing of people receiving music for nothing.  Whether it's unromantic or not, it's how I pay the bills.  And that shit about making an album and saying it costs nothing; that's like saying my life's work is worthless."

I imagine some people who download music without paying for it have jobs.  Why don't you go in and work for free?  That seems fair, doesn't it?  Why should it be that way for musicians?  Why should they put all kinds of physical and mental effort into creating something (which is a hell of a lot harder than flipping a burger, running a cash register or any number of other jobs) that you just then take?  Granted, some musicians don't mind, but enough do, and music fans should respect their art and craft enough to pay for it.

I like Weller's quote.  It makes sense.  Good sense.  Sure, it's hard to feel bad for Metallica crying foul, but Weller is a whole other story.  You can't say he's only after the money. 

When all those people who are illegally downloading start working for free I'll start respecting their positions more.  All of them who I know who have jobs, however, always balk when I suggest any such thing. 

Support the artists you love.  They have families to raise, bills to feed, and it's just downright respectful.  If not, you try working for free and see how you like it.  Better yet, try making a living off your creativity.  Let's see how well you can do it -- without being paid.

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