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Glenn McDonald: Warnings & Promises

TWAS 503: (Warnings and Promises)

Glenn McDonald—previously a self-described “apologist” for not downloading unlicensed music—posts an articulate polemic on why he now “steals” music; and, more importantly, how the Music Industry has lost its franchise on expecting the loyalty that had previously prevented it.

He provides several specific examples where old-school business practices (and new-school ignorance) have made it difficult to be an honest fan and to support the artist as one would like.

Worth reading through and sharing with anyone you know with a band or a label.

In a single year, not too long ago, I bought 1000 CDs, and most of them were yours. I continue to pay still. I bought two CDs this week, and will almost certainly buy more than 100 over the course of this calendar year. I have paid for legal downloads, as well. I have stubbornly forgiven you your trespasses against everyone you nominally serve, and kept supporting the idea of music as a Big Business. I have never condoned your numeric monopolies and tasteless denominator-lowering, but I support the dream of musicians being able to simply make music for their living, rather than operating themselves as a business, and somewhere far back in history that was what Industry allowed.

But I have also now started stealing your music. I haven’t stolen much, but I’m sure you will agree that the moral issue is not merely one of quantity. I have been one of the last independent apologists for a moral kernel, elusive now to perhaps the point of imagination, in your corrupt and desperate retreat, but now even I have given up. I still buy, but now I also steal. You have forfeited your right to my loyalty.

[via: Kottke]

TOPICS: Off Topic
Merlin's picture

I don't know if every...

I don't know if every detail would hold up in a Socratic death match, but I saw a lot of bigger truth in this article , Rob.

If people could look past the hot-button "theft" issue (which he has, admittedly foregrounded here), I think they'd see a guy reluctantly telling an industry he used to respect (or at least tolerate) why he can't hang with them any more. And part of that exasperation comes from knowing they'll probably never hear the priceless advice in this farewell note. As a lifelong music fan, yeah, I think that's powerful.

It's also interesting to me how this particular conversation frequently gets re-routed from "here's where this industry could be making more mutually-beneficial business decisions" into "let's beat up on the felon who won't go to Camelot for his $20 Kylie Minogue record." I mean I get it, but it's definitely not the whole story by a long shot. That dog's hunting days are short if these companies want to actually survive and prosper.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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