So Mack can call me names…

Razorcake published an essay I wrote about the recent White/Lowery debate about file-sharing and musical ‘piracy’. The essay came about partly through an exchange I had with Mack. I’m posting it here so Mack can continue to call me names and question my punkness. You are all welcome to join is as well. Or not. Whatever. I’m not reading your damn comments.

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2 Responses to So Mack can call me names…

  1. Mack says:

    Oooh! Look at me! I’m a big fancy man writing for Razorcake! Nice, essay you fascist! I bet your boyfriend David Lowery paid you in blow jobs to write that drivelling piffle! I spit on you and your bourgeois ethical framework! *PTOOIE!!!*

  2. Steve says:

    I only have this to add…

    There has to be a middle ground between ‘doing it for the money’ and ‘doing it for the love’. Loads of amateur musicians who are not doing it for the money will at least want some cash for the time and money they have put in. Making music costs, one way or another. And as soon as you digitize it people can give it away for free and that can hurt the amateur as well as the professional.

    So if it is Free Democratic Culture that we are trying to promote by file-sharing then we out to be careful we do not shoot it in the foot by accident.

    When I played music seriously, I never tried to be a ‘rock star’ but I did try to make my activities financially neutral. Sometimes it worked out – gig money, some CD sales, some busking cash, and so on. But if I add it all up you’d probably see me coming out behind. And I was working too, so I had cash to put into it. I know that in the case of one particular band, file-sharing cost me some of that money I could have got, maybe quite a bit. And maybe that contributed to a shorter lifespan as a working musician, reaching an audience.

    I’m not really angry about that, but if I am representative of the experience of amateur musicians, then file-sharing has had a moderate detrimental effect on the scene.

    So I don’t actually give a shit that here are 43 percent less professional musicians or whatever Lowery cites. Professional musicians have made that decision and just have to take that chance. But I do care about the local artist and the fully committed DIY activist musician. I wonder if the likes of Black Flag or Minor Threat would have been able to survive doing what they did in an era when half of their income was going to get lost through digital file-sharing.

    So, in answer to White’s vision of a big filesharing system in the sky where all the royalties went back to the original artist, by magic…well, my vision is of a situation in which people could form bands and record and play, and know that even though they weren’t going to make a fortune, they at least wouldn’t have to payfor the privilege of entertaining people.

    My solution – if its corporate, steal it. If it’s local, buy it.

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