Over on the Trichordist blog (which should be on your reading list if it isn’t already), David Lowery posted a letter in response to Emily White, a college-aged intern for NPR’s All Songs Considered, who openly admitted to having only purchased 15 CDs in her life, despite being a music fan who wants to work in a music-based industry. In her post (I Never Owned Any Music To Begin With) Emily writes that she has always lived in a world where music is available for free, and though she acknowledges that file-sharing has an impact on musicians, and that supporting them through concert tickets and t-shirts is not enough to sustain them, she says “I honestly don’t think my peers and I will ever pay for albums.”
David’s response, which articulates not only the financial but the personal impact the so-called “free culture” movement has on musicians, has struck a chord with the internet. In it he writes:
Many in your generation are willing to pay a little extra to buy “fair trade” coffee that ensures the workers that harvested the coffee were paid fairly. Many in your generation will pay a little more to buy clothing and shoes from manufacturers that certify they don’t use sweatshops. Many in your generation pressured Apple to examine working conditions at Foxconn in China. Your generation is largely responsible for the recent cultural changes that have given more equality to same sex couples. On nearly every count your generation is much more ethical and fair than my generation. Except for one thing. Artist rights.
And judging from the 100+ comments on his site, people agree. From fellow musicians noting their support and solidarity to a college-aged, admitted file-sharer who called the article “incredibly eye-opening,” to a teacher who wrote: “perhaps one of the most coherent, comprehensive, accessible responses possible” and asked for permission to use in his class next year. If you have not already read the whole piece, take a moment to do so and join the conversation.