The Brooklyn band Ghost Beach addresses the debate over music piracy in a big way: on an LED billboard above the American Eagle Outfitters store in Times Square.
I think the constant affirmative use of the word "Piracy" is what makes either choice problematic. But if I had to sincerely choose in my heart of hearts and mind of minds, I would pick #ArtistForPiracy, much to the shegrin of some of my musical comrades. Actually I have stood firm with this stance since the 90’s, well before Napster. Its not that I want to promote a culture that takes music for granted, but rather embrace a healthy adaptation to these changing times. Listen, truth be told. we (artists) swallowed the pill back when Edison invented the grammophone and have been pill popping ever since. We grunted when the industry switched from tubes to closed circutry consoles. We moaned when music was digitized via a CD and we shook our heads when it became intangible with the MP3. We screamed bloody murder when Napster rolled through and just about threw our hands up with Pandora or foolishly (in my humble opinion) jumped on the Spotify bandwagon; a platform where you dont get SHIZNIT as either an independent or major artist. Labels have found a way to make loads of money via services like Spotify which has essentially legalized "piracy". But here we are the artists (mostly independent) that still poke our fingers at this misguided image of pirating young people.
I am an advocate of monetizing culture, and shifting focus off of the product and commodification of music. Artist are cultural machines, but I think we often take it for granted or do not know how to spread our culture beyond our local communities of acceptance. As many brilliant artist as I know that maticulously bust their behinds and wallets to perfect a record, many do or do not know how to do little else to objectively look at their work from a business standpoint. We have defined grunt work as touring, hustling out of trunks or at shows. But stop short of our own social media tipping points on Twitter, Facebook or other music social platforms. When you wake up some of us hop on facebook to see what’s up, but that is not what’s up. Why not read music technology blogs/ trades (this is your business). The business I speak of is not selling CDs or downloads (which will be an obsolete means of making money in no more that 365 days,if you read music blogs) but how to develop a business of culture that reflects you, the music and your fans.
Do we truly have a pulse on our own popcultulral and social economic futures? If not, we should? I believe new ideas are as endless as music itself, and not everything will work for everybody. As with dreams, we should not all share the same one. It may appear to the vast void of infinitive options, but what is in it for you is a select few that simply beg your committment to learn and utilize. But first there must be a sort of paradigm shift in our thinking. Do not waste any more breathe blaiming young people. The ball is in our hands and they are just happy to be invited to the game.
There are some think tanks geared towards the independent artist, but we need more. There are some brilliant start ups to help artists but we need more. There is an endless long tail of artists but we need less that just are in the business (if at all) for self and simply define community by hugging eachother at shows or guesting on eachothers records.
I am not looking to debate the issue, though you are welcome to rant in the comments to your heart’s content. I know we all have strong feelings around this, especially those of us who do it fulltime. But well, I believe in whatelse there is for us. I do. Do you?
See on www.nytimes.com