A musician defends file-sharing, debunks the RIAA. Depending on your perspective, Janis Ian is either a struggling new science fiction writer or an established and well-respected recording artist with 17 albums to her credit. She’s written a powerful debunking of the RIAA’s claims about the effects of file-sharing on music-sales. Highly recommended reading from a music industry person who is far more articulate than, say, Courtney Love.
Free exposure is practically a thing of the past for entertainers. Getting your record played at radio costs more money than most of us dream of ever earning. Free downloading gives a chance to every do-it-yourselfer out there. Every act that can’t get signed to a major, for whatever reason, can reach literally millions of new listeners, enticing them to buy the CD and come to the concerts. Where else can a new act, or one that doesn’t have a label deal, get that kind of exposure?
We’ll turn into Microsoft if we’re not careful, insisting that any household wanting a copy for the car, or the kids, or the portable CD player, has to go out and “license” multiple copies.
As artists, we have the ear of the masses. We have the trust of the masses. By speaking out in our concerts and in the press, we can do a great deal to damp this hysteria, and put the blame for the sad state of our industry right back where it belongs – in the laps of record companies, radio programmers, and our own apparent inability to organize ourselves in order to better our own lives – and those of our fans. If we don’t take the reins, no one will.