Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Thought About The Digital Download "Threat"

After so many conversations and debates about the "end of music" and the "stealing of music" because of the internet, I keep coming back to the thought that recorded music has only been with us for about 133 years ( ). A short blink of time compared to how long mankind and music have existed. So, for the much greater time that music was around before the medium of recording came to be, the only way one could experience music was to play it yourself or to listen to someone else play it in a live setting. Perhaps the "freezing" of music performance and turning it into a commodity for sale is an aberration of the true purpose of the art. The incredible growth of the music industry resulted in the dominance of a few corporate giants who controlled what music flowed into the general populace, like feudal lords. Now, while these "lords" reside in their castles, the shopkeepers outside their moats toil, trying to just make a living selling their musical "wares" at a modest increase from the greedy and unreasonable mark up the "lords" bestow upon them. But then, the internet arises and spreads like wildfire. Suddenly the overcharged "peasants" can grab everything for free. They storm the castle in a mob driven frenzy of revenge, focused only on the unjust lords who have controlled them all these years. Alas, the lowly shopkeepers, i.e the music retailers, find themselves in the way of the marauding consumers and are trampled in the process. The mob has no particular quarrel with them, they just happen to be in the way. So maybe, just maybe, nature is taking her course and restoring music to the path it was always meant to be on. A living can be had from the performance of the music that is a unique expression of the artist expressing it, whether it be original composition or interpretation of another individual's idea. But the concept of freezing it for financial gain may be an errant idea whose time has passed.