thoughts on music, design and literature

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Headline: "RIAA Copyright Fine Totals $192 Million"

Whoa. Regardless of your views on the issue, I don't think there's any doubt that this is a huge tactical blunder for the RIAA:

eWeek: "RIAA Copyright Fine Totals $192 Million"

It's terrible press from the RIAA, and isn't doing anything to sway public opinion on the notion of the big bad record company.

Here's where I stand on the issue. File sharing is not a bad thing. I've discovered many a band because someone sent me an MP3, at which point I subsequently went out and bought their album. However, if you get enjoyment out of music, you really ought to help support the artist who created that music. That doesn't just mean buying the album, however: you can also help by spreading the word about their music and helping promote it amongst your friends (which, ironically, may involve file sharing).

The problem is, however, that if you think that music should simply be free, with no obligation to help the artist, then the artist you like will soon be forced to stop making music because they can't pay the bills. And once that happens on a wide scale, the independent music scene will crumble, leaving us in a world devoid of anything outside of major-label mainstream pop (heavily supported by product placement). For an example of such a market, turn to China: no one makes a living doing music there without heavy corporate sponsorship.

So support indie artists!

(On that note, tonight I'll be attending a concert by Chinese American singer/performance artist Jen Shyu, a multi-talented old friend of mine from Stanford.)

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