songwriter speaks out on music downloads
Singer-songwriter Janis Ian has placed an article on her Web site in which she discusses the MP3 phenomenon and the record industry's resistance to same. She gives permission to quote the entire thing (thanx, Janis!), but I'll settle for a couple of excerpts. It's well thought out and gives the perspective of one performer, in whose name the RIAA is ostensibly acting.
I have no objection to [NARAS president Michael] Greene et al trying to protect the record labels, who are the ones fomenting this hysteria. RIAA is funded by them. NARAS is supported by them. However, I object violently to the pretense that they are in any way doing this for our benefit (emphasis hers).
...in the hysteria of the moment, everyone is forgetting the main way an artist becomes successful - exposure. Without exposure, no one comes to shows, no one buys CDs, no one enables you to earn a living doing what you love. Again, from personal experience: in 37 years as a recording artist, I've created 25+ albums for major labels, and I've never once received a royalty check that didn't show I owed them money. So I make the bulk of my living from live touring, playing for 80-1500 people a night, doing my own show. I spend hours each week doing press, writing articles, making sure my website tour information is up to date. Why? Because all of that gives me exposure to an audience that might not come otherwise.
I highly recommend you read the whole thing--speaking from her own perspective, she debunks many of the recording industry's claims about the damage music downloading causes to sales, linking the hysteria to industry reaction to most new technologies (remember reel-to-reel tape?). She also notes the many restrictions the recording industry places on performers.
(via Mac Hall)