I just downloaded the new “Girl Talk” album, which consists entirely of illegally sampled sound bytes from music of all genres, and synthesizes them into something entertaining.
I was given the choice of paying any amount I like for the privilege of downloading the music, I opted for zero dollars. (Note: I appreciate the artists work & talent, on the other hand, paying him endorses law-breaking, even if you don’t agree with the rules) I’m sure I’ve broken a few laws despite this.
This one experience is a tangled knot of just about every unresolved issue the music industry is stumbling through.
What it does highlight for me is that, whether you think it’s ‘good’ from a moral standpoint, or 'good’ from a 'we are heading there anyway’ perspective, music will be free. Not because it needs to be, or 'wants’ to be, but because while the digital distribution juggernaut that is the Internet lumbered over the music industry’s meticulous little cash-village, the big-five chose to attack the problem in the form of wasps stinging a giant, instead of doing anything meaningful to control and steer the situation somewhere we’d all be happy.
Humans are still willing to pay for the music 'experience’. We’ll still pay for concerts and shows. I hope all those who are passionate about making music will be able to scale up an audience large enough to support them in a reasonable way. Hats off to whoever helps solve that problem.