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Letter to Emily White NPR All things Considered
Old 19th June 2012
  #1
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Letter to Emily White NPR All things Considered

this is going around on social media. i found it a good read regarding the current generation's music 'buying' habits.

Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. | The Trichordist

"This is a bit of hyperbole to emphasize the point. But it’s as if:

Networks: Giant mega corporations. Cool! have some money!

Hardware: Giant mega corporations. Cool! have some money!

Artists: 99.9 % lower middle class. Screw you, you greedy bastards!

Congratulations, your generation is the first generation in history to rebel by unsticking it to the man and instead sticking it to the weirdo freak musicians!


I am genuinely stunned by this. Since you appear to love first generation Indie Rock, and as a founding member of a first generation Indie Rock band I am now legally obligated to issue this order: kids, lawn, vacate.

You are doing it wrong."

Old 19th June 2012
  #2
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rolo's Avatar
 

Amen, + 1000, yes yes yes.
Old 19th June 2012
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolo View Post
Amen, + 1000, yes yes yes.
it is really one of the better reads on the issue(s) and captures a lot of the arguments, hyperbole, nonsense and all that in one article in a simple direct way.
Old 19th June 2012
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ignatius View Post
it is really one of the better reads on the issue(s) and captures a lot of the arguments, hyperbole, nonsense and all that in one article in a simple direct way.
I agree completely. This is VERY well written.
Thank you David! You will go down in history as a champion for logic and goodness in this fight.
Old 19th June 2012
  #5
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I think she makes an interesting point over here:

Quote:
What I want is one massive Spotify-like catalog of music that will sync to my phone and various home entertainment devices. With this new universal database, everyone would have convenient access to everything that has ever been recorded and performance royalties would be distributed based on play counts (hopefully with more money going back to the artist than the present model). All I require is the ability to listen to what I want, when I want and how I want it. Is that too much to ask?
"Is that too much to ask?" Well to some people, yes. It seems to have sparked a "generation war" in the comments section. And an interesting comment from Alfredo de la Rosa:

Quote:
Emily, don't listen to the naysayers. Your generation is on the cusp of a new vision, a new way of seeing the world, which unapologetically demands more not less. When this happens, you're bound to see the protectors of the old regime, the old ways of thinking, coming in and attacking everything which challenges their narrow ways of thinking. Keep pressing on, keep up the fight, keep moving forward, not backward.
"Unapologetically demand more not less", that's a powerful mantra. Or restructured as "entitled and proud of it".

Interesting article regardless. David makes a good case for artist rights, but he fails to address her main question (at least I didn't see). Emily grew up in a generation were CDs seem quaint, and a generation that is used to having access to all the worlds knowledge and culture at their fingertips (literally everything that has ever been recorded). She wants artists to be paid, but not without losing this profound ability of total access to all the world's music.

Is that too much to ask?

No Emily, it is not.
Old 19th June 2012
  #6
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I thin k it is indeed too much to ask. Do you really think these self absorbed, self involved, over medicated kids actually have the ability to change what they feel they are already entitled to?


Quote:
Originally Posted by freetard View Post
I think she makes an interesting point over here:



"Is that too much to ask?" Well to some people, yes. It seems to have sparked a "generation war" in the comments section. And an interesting comment from Alfredo de la Rosa:



"Unapologetically demand more not less", that's a powerful mantra. Or restructured as "entitled and proud of it".

Interesting article regardless. David makes a good case for artist rights, but he fails to address her main question (at least I didn't see). Emily grew up in a generation were CDs seem quaint, and a generation that is used to having access to all the worlds knowledge and culture at their fingertips (literally everything that has ever been recorded). She wants artists to be paid, but not without losing this profound ability of total access to all the world's music.

Is that too much to ask?

No Emily, it is not.
Old 19th June 2012
  #7
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note the discourse in the comment section is both civil and insightful.

Amazing what a little NON-anonymity can do...
Old 19th June 2012
  #8
Eat
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whatever it is... it's coming. and no one's gonna like it one bit
Old 19th June 2012
  #9
man... that piece has gone viral... tweets galore... maybe InitialsBB is right about the internet... NYTimes... Artists... Etc... Looks like there could be a groundswell afterall...

###

Michael Penn [email protected]
But recorded music apparently exists now in a nether world between commerce and charity, dependent entirely on the ethics of strangers.

Retweeted by Quentin Hardy

###

John Podhoretz [email protected]
A definitive take on why stealing music -- or any copyrighted material--is wrong, via @aimeemann: Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. | The Trichordist

Retweeted by Quentin Hardy

###

David Gallagher [email protected]
David Lowery, longtime indie-rock guy, lectures a college student who just isn't into paying for digital music. Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. | The Trichordist

###

nice take from julliana hatfield...

good reading by david lowery | PledgeMusic

###

matt nathanson [email protected]
GREAT, GREAT, GREAT ARTICLE about piracy and it's effect on the artist!! anyone who disagrees is broken. Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. | The Trichordist

###

Michael Penn [email protected]
This David Lowery piece is GREAT: Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. | The Trichordist

###

Gavin Rossdale [email protected]
Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. | The Trichordist via @wordpressdotcom

###

Neko Case [email protected]
Please RT @amylombardi: wowie and well said. Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. | The Trichordist via @wordpressdotcom

###

Benjamin Gibbard [email protected]
ICYMI, Here is David Lowery's piece. It blows holes in every argument against buying music. Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. | The Trichordist

###

Benjamin Gibbard [email protected]
Re: Lowery article's comments, it blows my mind that taking a stand against artists being stolen from could arise such hostility. Unreal.

###
Old 19th June 2012
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ignatius View Post
Congratulations, your generation is the first generation in history to rebel by unsticking it to the man and instead sticking it to the weirdo freak musicians![/B]
genius line and too true.
Old 19th June 2012
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ignatius View Post
it is really one of the better reads on the issue(s) and captures a lot of the arguments, hyperbole, nonsense and all that in one article in a simple direct way.
Yep.
+100
Old 19th June 2012
  #12
LA TIMES Picks Up The Story - Nice to see some mainstream coverage and they call Lowery "a new voice of reason."

Cracker's David Lowery: an essential music and tech-biz critic - latimes.com
Old 19th June 2012
  #13
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Quote:
Why do you pay real money for this other stuff but not music?

The existential questions that your generation gets to answer are these:

Why do we value the network and hardware that delivers music but not the music itself?
I think this is the crux of the problem and doesn't get enough discussion.

It seems obvious to me that people are more comfortable paying for physical things (computers, phones) than ephemeral digital downloads.

And people are more comfortable paying a monthly fee for services that provide access to a huge variety of different things (cable tv, isp) than they would be paying the exact same price for those things a la carte. This is why some people are so enthusiastic about services like Spotify.

Related to the first point, I also think that people value visual things and interactive things more highly than things that are purely audio. I think this is just a basic psychological issue. Music is already ephemeral enough, but then digital music is arguably one of the most intangible products imaginable.

So I think those are the fundamental problems facing the sale of digital music, apart from all of the other legal issues. It raises a bunch of questions:

How can digital music be made to feel more physical and to emphasize the visual aspects? Think of the difference between buying a song on iTunes and having it presented to you basically as a line of text in a database vs. buying an app on the iPhone and getting a little shadowed button that you can actually touch. It seems like a minor difference but I think the psychological implications are huge.

How can consumers be convinced to pay for music they don't actually want or need? That sounds like a cynical question, but it's really the business model behind cable TV and traditional album sales. I believe that people actually have no idea how much they are paying per song per play when they buy a record. You buy a physical album assuming that you can and will listen to it infinite times, but there might be songs you only listen to once, songs you never listen to, etc. You may only want HBO, but you get it as part of a package with a bunch of other channels you may not want and that feels like a better value to the customer even if they will never actually watch those extra channels. So that's the other advantage of a subscription-based streaming service. The casual users subsidize the more heavy users, and the consumer feels like they're getting a better value for their dollar because of the vast selection, even if they only end up listening to the same couple of artists they always listen to.
Old 19th June 2012
  #14
Sorry, I don't buy the tangible versus intangible argument.
Like the copyright debate, it's been raised and massaged by the free music lobby.
People happily pay for many things that aren't physical.

The biggest legal hurdle to selling music for me is the (still) poor quality being offered. iTunes has variable pricing from country to country, over and above different taxes (thank you Apple). Amazon, for some strange reason, can sell me a CD or book, but can't sell me an mp3 because i don't live in America.
many, many favourite recordings are STILL not available legally anywhere on the web. I'm not talking obscure artists, but hit songs from the 80's and 90's.

Above all, I don't believe in punishing or abusing artists. So everything I do on the web is 100% legal. And I think this is the core point Lowery makes. Remember, you are taking advantage of music workers, many on average wages, when you take their music against their wishes.
Old 19th June 2012
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Sorry, I don't buy the tangible versus intangible argument.
...
People happily pay for many things that aren't physical.
What are some other examples of things that people were accustomed to buying as physical objects and then they happily switched over to a non-physical version of the same thing at a similar price point? I can't think of any relevant parallels apart from digital movies, books, and maybe software. It remains to be seen what happens with digital books and movies, and I think the software comparison doesn't work for a lot of reasons.

Yes, people pay for many intangible things, but the shift from a physical object to an intangible version of the same is pretty much unprecedented.
Old 19th June 2012
  #16
can't discuss a lot of this hear that's at the heart of the issue but even google's chief economist hal a varian doesn't believe the nonsense about digital goods, he says in his book "Information Rules":

Quote:
Page 83.

John Perry Barlow asserted that “Intellectual property law cannot be patched, retrofitted, or expanded to contain digitized expression… We will need to develop an entirely new set of methods as befits this entirely new set of circumstances.” Is Barlow right? Is copyright law hopelessly outdated? We think not.
and...

Quote:
Continued, Page 93.

“Bitlegging” can’t be ignored: there’s no doubt that it can be a significant drag on profits.

Bitleggers have the same problem that any other sellers of contraband material have: they have to pet potential customers know how to find them. But if they advertise their location to potential customers, they also advertise their location to law enforcement authorities. In the contraband business it pays to advertise… but not too much.

This puts a natural limit on the size of for-profit illegal activities: the bigger they get, the more likely they are to get caught. Digital piracy can’t be eliminated, any more than any other kind of illegal activity, but it can be kept under control. All that is required is the political will to enforce intellectual property rights.
Google's own chief economist coin'd the phrase "Bitlegging"...

It also stands to reason you can't be both pro-artist and pro-exploitation at the same time.
Old 20th June 2012
  #17
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Actually Pay Per View might be a good example. Despite being available for a couple of decades, PPV has always been dwarfed by home video sales, rentals, and overall cable subscriptions. I think people will always pay for a subscription over a la carte, even if it ends up costing them more because it gives the illusion of added value.

How many people pay $50 a month for premium movie channels and watch maybe 5 movies a month but would never consider renting a movie on demand for $10?
Old 20th June 2012
  #18
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Subscriptions make more sense now because subscriptions are possible. Pre-computer/Internet, it would be pretty hard to have on demand-music the way a service like Spotify offers it.

Buying music is just silly. It's treating music like it's some physical product with a quantity, which it isn't. And if you tried to acquire all the music that something like Spotify offers, it would cost $30 million dollars or so, which is roughly 250,000 years of Spotify Premium subscription.
Old 20th June 2012
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freetard View Post
...
Buying music is just silly. It's treating music like it's some physical product with a quantity, which it isn't.
You're making the mistake of confusing the PRODUCT with the CONTAINER.

Quote:
And if you tried to acquire all the music that something like Spotify offers, it would cost $30 million dollars or so, which is roughly 250,000 years of Spotify Premium subscription.
Who the 'eff want's to "aquire all the music"? Horders?
Old 20th June 2012
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by freetard View Post
Subscriptions make more sense now because subscriptions are possible. Pre-computer/Internet, it would be pretty hard to have on demand-music the way a service like Spotify offers it.

Buying music is just silly. It's treating music like it's some physical product with a quantity, which it isn't. And if you tried to acquire all the music that something like Spotify offers, it would cost $30 million dollars or so, which is roughly 250,000 years of Spotify Premium subscription.
sure... and what will you say when Spotify is $25 a month because that is what the equitable rate is to pay, to fairly compensate artists? seems to me you are still arguing more for cheap/free than you are on a delivery platform.

if spotify is $25 a month and songs on itunes are 5 cents each which do you pick?
Old 20th June 2012
  #21
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A looooooong time ago Dave Kusek talked about music moving to the subscription model or simply being incorporated into your ISP's monthly bill. This could work, but only if the model fairly compensates the content creator.

That's the central point of this discussion. I don't give a crap how YOU want your music delivered. I think companies like Spotify need to compensate musicians fairly, and they don't..... NOT EVEN CLOSE.

The problem is fairly clear in David's blog. People like Emily are more interested in their self satisfaction than supporting the artist that creates the content. They WANT it their way and don't care about the artist's financial well being. They are more interested in supporting companies, even ones that rape musician's creativity for profit, because those companies build for the consumer whim of convenience and that's more important than music creation. Until this collective mentality is changed, the problem will continue.
Old 20th June 2012
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
A looooooong time ago Dave Kusek talked about music moving to the subscription model or simply being incorporated into your ISP's monthly bill. This could work, but only if the model fairly compensates the content creator.
"The content creator"? what content creator? Like, just Lady Gaga? Or do you mean all content creators? Sure thing. I'll be waiting in front of the line to collect that check.

Quote:
The problem is fairly clear in David's blog. People like Freetard are more interested in their self satisfaction than supporting the artist that creates the content. They WANT it their way and don't care about the artist's financial well being.
You are absolutely right. I put my interests before random people's interests.

Quote:
They are more interested in supporting companies that rape musician's creativity for profit because that company is built around consumer whim for convenience. Until this collective mentality is changed, the problem will continue.
Well I guess we can agree you are screwed. Or maybe not. I got an idea, how about you start acting like one of those "evil businesses", and provide services people actually want? That seems to work well for most people.
Old 20th June 2012
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
This could work, but only if the model fairly compensates the content creator.

That's the central point of this discussion. I don't give a crap how YOU want your music delivered.
Not giving a crap what the customer wants is not a good look. Of course there's an annoying sense of entitlement generated by the issue we can't talk about. But in addition to that I believe there are inherent problems with the idea of buying digital music that are perfectly valid consumer concerns.

People might be willing to pay 99 cents for a single, but $10 for a digital album is a harder pill to swallow. The obvious solution is to go through and listen to the 90 second previews and make a snap decision as to which songs are worth buying. But the industry at it's 1999 peak was built on album sales. Even in the absence of that thing we cannot name, what possible solution could you find for this issue? I'm in favor of doing away with the forced single-track sales that iTunes requires, but I'm not sure that really solves the problem.

As a rational consumer, why wouldn't I just buy the best tracks off the album? Or why wouldn't I just buy the CD for $10 from Amazon and have the music in full 16/44 quality plus liner notes and a physical object that I can resell if I don't like it?
Old 20th June 2012
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rack gear View Post
seems to me you are still arguing more for cheap/free than you are on a delivery platform.
Yes, the successful business model should be to provide the best possible service at the lowest possible cost. That is the core difference between running a welfare program and a business. What are you more interested in?
Old 20th June 2012
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freetard View Post
Yes, the successful business model should be to provide the best possible service at the lowest possible cost. That is the core difference between running a welfare program and a business. What are you more interested in?
Oh no, the dreaded "welfare"!? How scary!

Take it to free republic, your ron paul meetings, your ayn rand book club, or whatever hole you crawled out of.
Old 20th June 2012
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
Oh no, the dreaded "welfare"!? How scary!

Take it to free republic, your ron paul meetings, your ayn rand book club, or whatever hole you crawled out of.
Liberty-789337,

Understood. Sorry we aren't a fan of Objectivism, but we aren't perfect. Just equal. Oh so very equal.

Anyway you like welfare, that's fine. But my point was that I don't know many successful businesses in the business of doling out welfare. It just doesn't seem very... what's the word, profitable?

The business question is not "how can we ensure $SOME_GROUP gets paid 'fairly'", but "how much can I pay them such that my business venture is successful". Sometimes the second statement ends up satisfying the first (depends on your definition of fair, of course), sometimes not.
Old 20th June 2012
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freetard View Post
Liberty-789337,

Understood. Sorry we aren't a fan of Objectivism, but we aren't perfect. Just equal. Oh so very equal.

Anyway you like welfare, that's fine. But my point was that I don't know many successful businesses in the business of doling out welfare. It just doesn't seem very... what's the word, profitable?

The business question is not "how can we ensure $SOME_GROUP gets paid 'fairly'", but "how much can I pay them such that my business venture is successful". Sometimes the second statement ends up satisfying the first (depends on your definition of fair, of course), sometimes not.
ya but your not for Liberty, you are out for yourself and yourself only. Liberty is respecting the rights of your fellow man. You don't want to respect those rights given by law. You want to rip them off. Your own SN is Freetard which means your a tard for free things not for freedom. You want anarchy even though you won't come out and say it because that is really what are proposing .
Freedom does require safeguards. Giving away peoples creative work because you decide you should have it for free is not liberty its anarchy.

You are not talking about equal either because the fact of the matter is your only trying to serve your own selfish interests. That is not equality. Its self centered egotism.

Oh and yes I am quite tired of your anarchist radical left Dada ist posts. Why don't you go bother some other forum with them.
Old 20th June 2012
  #28
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I'm not convinced the vast majority of self-titled artists and musicians (which, if the stats on musical instrument usage is correct can *potentially* include 30% of the population, or 100 million people in the US alone) can be paid "fairly" regardless.

The so called barrier to entry to the music industry, was often a record label's A&R department, who sorted the has from has-nots (the vast majority).

Well no one is providing that service very well anymore. Ironically this lead to a new kind of entitlement: simply because I create music I deserve to make a living from it.

Of course the more entitled people vying for the pie, the smaller everyone's piece becomes. Without the traditional gatekeepers, there is nothing to stop this sort of thing.
Old 20th June 2012
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by freetard View Post
Ironically this lead to a new kind of entitlement: simply because I create music I deserve to make a living from it.
No it doesn't.
It never has, it never will.
Artists of all kinds have always understood the fragile nature of the business model.
If no one likes your work, you don't get paid.
The problem is the people who's work is liked (and consumed) and they STILL don't get paid.
Old 20th June 2012
  #30
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FullCount's Avatar
 

What disturbs me the most is that the general population hasn't assembled this article already in their own minds over the years. They need someone else to make it GLARINGLY OBVIOUS for them so that they can finally understand.

We are completely and irreversibly doomed.
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