Reaction to Conversations: Musicians need to be paid too

Hi readers of the page. I am still warming up after a week’s sabbatical. My friend Scott Hoye filled me in today with his reaction to my previous post. If you are not aware yet, Scott is  a musician who recently released the harp/vocal album Black Rose. You can listen to samples and buy the album here:

To those who just tuned in, please see my previous post in which Connie and I discussed what’s going on with the 2012 Olympics.

Scott Hoye:

The Olympic Corporation sucks. That needs no debate. They strong arm any one who uses the word Olympic in their business. Case in point: my local butcher in Chicago, Greek immigrants in business since the 1960s, were forced to change their name from Olympic Market to Olympia Market, when the Olympic (TM) Corporation showed up to check out the City for 2016. Ridiculous! Greeks can’t use the word? It falls in the realm of commons.

As far as the world of internet commerce and music, two things have happened: the internet has and MP3s have made everything more available, and services like D Baby make it affordable for EVERYONE to share sell their music on I-tunes and other sources. Pirating still takes place, and the price of a single is now well below what inflation should account for a fair price. But the gate keepers of the record industry are all gone, now replaced by the cheap skates of e-commerce, CD Baby, I-tunes, etc. Studios are no longer necessary to work with, and mastering can be done for a fraction of the cost as well, ether with studios or at home.

My experience as a musician working under the old guard of gatekeepers, in the 1990s, and the recording studio system informs what my experience is today. I used to have to create cassettes to send to A&R people at studios, and to send hard copies of the same to radio stations for airplay. Now, for small fees, digital press kits can be obtained, and distribution for the same, at the click of a mouse. So from this perspective, it is a brave new world for many people, and though most musicians are not household names, the possibility of publicity, earning a living and doing it with ease has become easily accessible.

On the other hand, artists are generally not respected in the common culture. America was described by Henry Miller long ago as a country  where everyone wants to be a banker. Europe and other cultures still lend more credence to artists as opposed to the US. This is not to say that arts cannot survive in a market driven world, but Oscar Wilde was right in stating that the cynic is he who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. This is the shadow side of market driven art, and perhaps the land of the free, home of the free market best illustrates this.

People generally don’t consider not paying tens of thousands of dollars for an auto. Art, they would rather pilfer it. The gatekeepers screwed the artists via distribution control, and scarcity for years. The new gatekeepers have cheapened the price of much in the realm of music; mp3s are ubiquitous, as is the ability to create the product. Perhaps ultimately it is the journey of the artist to navigate the new world of commerce. I hope that it is a bit fairer than the world of the old guard, where one waited to be picked, and the odds were terribly stacked against them.


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