The ever brilliant and talented Mr David Byrne offers up some harsh realities in his latest piece for The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/oct/11/david-byrne-internet-content-world
Most of my students are younger than the internet, and so I’m particularly curious to get that generation’s take on Byrne’s thoughts. For me, the article brought up the larger issue of how we treat folks who make and distribute art in our culture. In general, there is an expectation that artists, and musicians in particular, are so inspired to create and perform that they love to do so regardless of receiving compensation for their work. So moved by the muse that guides them, artists put beauty into the world freely and gladly.
Those of us at work in the industry know better, and struggle against this misconception everyday. I wouldn’t give up the joy of performing for anything, and I am blessed to have chosen a career that makes me happy. But it is, ultimately, a career, and I need to be able to support myself using my hard-earning skills or I will founder.
To get back to Byrne’s point, though, we are very quick to snap up musical content when we can get it cheaply and easily. Services like Spotify and Pandora allow us to broaden our scope and tastes. I find them useful for that purpose, but whenever possible I purchase music, and preferably through a local agent or directly from the musician whenever possible.
And on another note, to my students who don’t know who David Byrne is, allow me to give you a little more education:
Most recently, Mr Byrne has been collaborating with the fantastic St. Vincent.
He’s had a long solo career.
But once upon a time he gained fame with the group Talking Heads.