25th July 2009
Lives for gear
BBC - Newsbeat - 'Downloading has cheapened music'
'Downloading has cheapened music'
By Damian Jones
Newsbeat music reporter (BBC Radio 1 News Programme)
Jack White, The White Stripes linchpin and all round busiest man in rock 'n' roll, has launched a special subscription service. He's doing it because he's unhappy with the way downloading is affecting music experiences. He explains how he came up with the idea for the Vault.
What are your thoughts on the dominance of the internet on the music industry generally these days?
It’s taken a lot of the romance out of the experiences of music. This is what we're trying to manipulate to the advantage of the fan/listener and the artist as well, to find ways to have beautiful experiences that have a longer lasting impact. Sometimes things you have complete easy access to, like a reality show, or an online purchase at the click of a mouse, can become forgetable and invisible. A trip to a record store to get the album you've been waiting months for on the other hand, can be cherished for a lifetime. We are trying to find those bridges between the tangible worlds and the cyber/digital worlds.
As an artist who has embraced vinyl, what do you think about download culture?
A quick look at sales figures for albums will show anyone with a brain that there's no doubt the world has collectively decided that there is nothing wrong with taking music for free and feeling no moral conundrum about it. Oh well, that's the individuals personal battle to think about really. People say, "Bad for the artist, great for the fan," but that's not necessarily true I don't think. Download culture isn't a very romantic experience for the fan regarding art, it cheapens it and makes it fast forwardable, and disposable, and a lot of times ignorable. That's a shame for a lot of art and music that isn't getting the chance that it would if people just left the needle on the record till the end of the side or what have you. I'm not telling people not to listen to MP3s, we sell them for all of our records and I wouldn't say to them don't share with their friends or whatever, but if you're asking me my opinion on what I prefer, or what I think is the best way to enjoy music, I would take a tangible, moving piece of machinery to listen to, as it expands the imagination. The physical attachment and the experience is more reverential to the art form.