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David Byrne: ‘The internet will suck all creative content out of the world’

Is there a fair solution? And does it matter? Historically, musicians who weren’t among the top pop stars were never well-paid – isn’t that just the way it goes if you decide to make music your calling? Like writers and fine artists, most of them will never make a living doing exclusively what they love doing? Is this griping equivalent to Metallica’s complaint about Napster – viewed by many as the moaning of a bunch of fat cats who were out of touch? Were recording artists simply spoiled for a few decades and now those days are gone? Even Wagner was always in debt and slept with rich women to get funding – so nothing’s new, right? I know quite a few fine artists who teach – presumably to make ends meet and to allow them the freedom to do what they want. But I don’t see hordes of band-members getting comfy spots in universities anytime soon.

I disagree with David Byrne and his Spotify stance


So should the recording industry be saved and do musicians need saving? And note that I say recording industry, not the music industry – they are two different things. I have no interest in saving the recording industry in its current form. The recording industry was set up to exploit musicians. It pays low royalties to musicians for sales of their work in return for providing money to musicians so they can record their work. There are multiple examples of different models within this system – but that is the system as it stands. Me and other musicians have often said that ‘we pay back the mortgage but never own the house’ under this system. What that means is that when a musician signs away their rights to their work they hardly ever get those rights back. The way to avoid being trapped in this system is simple – retain the rights to your copyrights. Those copyrights are a tangible good that a musician should own.


CBC Interview with David Byrne October 18, 2013 (MP3)



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