Monday, June 18, 2012

Downloading: Big Business, Just Not For Musicians

The business of downloading music made plain by David Lowery (him of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker fame). Bottom line: money is being made, just not by the people who made the music, and you're paying for it on all sorts of ways, just not to the people who made the music.


Scott said...

Techdirt posted a riposte to Lowery's claims at the time, worth a read from some balance (regardless of which aspects you choose to believe).

Anonymous said...

Daniel has expressed a strong preference for performances over recordings - so is it drawing too fine a distinction to say that music cannot be downloaded - only recordings of music? Is the recording assumed to be the same as the music? Is this a valid assumption? Unauthorized recordings aside, all composers and performers, in theory, have the choice not to commit their art to a digital realization that can be copied.

mrG said...

I'm with Paul on that one, and add that there's a chance that as soon as you pump your sound through a mixing board and relay it out over hi-fi sound systems, it has been watered down to the point where a CD would be nearly as effective (although, isn't it curious, people can recognize the difference between live and lip-sync so quickly?) -- Music is a live art, a real-time stroke and flow that depends on the context of the listener, it is an environment constructed by the artist according to the situation, and the more we distance this from the situation, the less 'musical' it becomes. As Stan Getz and John Cage both lamented, a recording is a record only, a document, a historical proof, but as a thing of value as art, it is only a one-dimensional shadow of the transducers, copiously electro-acoustically manipulated to sound very much like music, to a casual observer.

That said, there is also an art to making records, a respectable craft that has its masters, but it is an electronic art more akin to sculpture or painting, it creates an artifact. Music creates a moment.

Dave Liebman's blog was lamenting the closure of many jazz radio stations and the collapse of the jazz record market; he things this is especially odd considering the high enrollment in jazz schools and the tremendous skill level of even average graduates. What is going on? he asks. I say it is because the kids know that music is participatory, that it needs to be alive, they don't want to buy a dead plastic disc that plays the same old same old every time, they want to be emersed and included in a social environment, which is, after all, what we mean, or rather what we used to mean by 'culture'.