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For my brother’s tip jar

April 4th, 2004 · 1 Comment

On Friday Dave Winer posted “Courtney Love’s incredible story about the math of music that came public in the middle of the Napster heyday. It was a must-read then, and now.”

So I clicked. And read:

Now artists have options. We don’t have to work with major labels anymore, because the digital economy is creating new ways to distribute and market music.

The status quo gives us a boring culture. In a society of over 300 million people, only 30 new artists a year sell a million records. By any measure, that’s a huge failure.

Let us do our real jobs. And those of us addicted to celebrity because we have nothing else to give will fade away. And those of us addicted to celebrity because it was there will find a better, purer way to live.

I know my place. I’m a waiter. I’m in the service industry. I live on tips.

Why can’t MP3.com pay each artist a fixed amount based on the number of their downloads?

I had to forward this essay to my brother, bassist for Spiral. What Courtney Love wrote reminded me of a conversation we had last summer sitting out on our deck. While he and the lead singer of the band were at our home for a family birthday barbecue, we discussed the recording industry. My brother’s band is creative and eclectic: their music is difficult to fit into a category or market with a label. Distribution through a new digital economy would benefit Spiral in big ways. I’m sure my brother and his bandmates would love to have a “tip jar”.

While grilling chicken, Ted shared helpful insight. The night before he had posted this piece Changing the game in music, quoting Dana Blankenhorn.

But the best thing you can do is keep your wallet in your pocket. No matter how much “law” the RIAA may claim to have on its side you have the ultimate power. If you don’t like the terms and conditions under which a product is offered to you, don’t buy it.

There’s one other thing he left out that we could do. Find a way to support artists who are producing music outside of the RIAA.

For the sake of my brother and his band, for the sake of Courtney Love and us all, I hope we soon find a way to let musicians “do their real jobs”. Where’s the tip jar?

Tags: music

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 merissa // Jun 27, 2004 at 8:51 pm

    courtney love killed kurt cobain who was a genius at music-merissa