“Do more with less.”
How many times have we heard various institutions evoke the sentiment that the people who keep the cogs oiled on the machine need to put out more product with less support? We ask this of auto plant workers, newspapermen and artists.
Music has been devalued to a level where we, the consumer, demand its artists give us their work for free or risk dismissal as expectant, self-indulgent players who no longer deserve a place in the game. We’ll pull their peg, knock their chess piece, wipe them clean from the board. But we are no more to blame than the artists, who have themselves bought into the idea that if they put out a costless product then they will some how be favored and rewarded down the road. They accept defeat, and embrace and embolden the norm.
Everyone at the TSS office knows I don’t download music for free — it goes against everything I believe in. When I was writing about music in a professional capacity I did accept free promo copies of albums, but I was being paid to listen to that person’s album as a critic. And as a fan exclusively now, I pay for all of my music. I don’t know how to take more of a stand against what is inherently wrong than that. What could be more depraved than stealing from the poor, let alone anyone? I like fictitious pirates, not real ones.
Jack Sparrow = Awesome.
Somali life-boaters = Not as awesome.
But if the artists offer the music for free, it’s not stealing, right? Right. But it’s valueless. I don’t collect things of no value around my house for fear of rampant clutter and decay. These things are called, in some circles, garbage. Likewise, I don’t collect valueless things on my hard drive for fear of those same rampant impacts.
I don’t know what to tell a starving artist trying to make it in this industry other than, “What you’re doing will not work.” You won’t be able to give away enough music to buy your way into an industry. I understand your plight, and I get that you’re just trying to make it. The term “Starving Artist” has been around for a long time for a reason. But by giving away your art, you are only making your name known, not valued. If what you love is just creating art — come Hell or high water, listeners be damned — then you have nothing to be worried about other than how you will supplement your income so you can continue to create.
Downloaders, I have even less to say to you. Just know that you are weakening the product you complain about.
But I am just Mrs. Blogger in a Hip-Hop scenario of Reservoir Dogs. I have my gun pointed at Mr. Download, who has his gun pointed at Mr. Artist, who has his gun pointed at Mr. Industry, who has his gun pointed at me. We’re all ready to fuck each other up and we’re all full of shit. And in the middle of our square-off is the Quality Product; sweat beads forming at the brow and lip, and chest heaving in congested sputters.
The question isn’t who will go down, but rather who will pull the trigger first.