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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Steal this album: What happens if no one pays for music? - Art in Crisis

Neil Young Vinyl Shopping - April 16, 2011
2011 Record Store Day

Plan9 Music, Richmond, Virginia
Photo by Emaleigh Franzak

Here's another chapter in the never ending debate on the subject of art and commerce.

We've waded into this debate from time to time over the years and let's just agree that not everyone agrees on the subject.

From Steal this album: What happens if no one pays for music? - Art in Crisis - By Scott Timberg:
The dissonance here between fan and musician emerges from one of the key conflicts of our time: How should we pay for culture in the Internet era, and if we don’t pay, what happens to the producers of culture? It was only a matter of time before an exchange like this would make the terms of the debate clear.

Over the weekend, Emily White, an NPR intern and general manager at American University’s WVAU, posted a piece on NPR’s All Songs Considered blog called “I Never Owned Any Music to Begin With,” in which she explains, in a reasonable, matter-of-fact tone, that despite being an enormous music fan, with a library of more than 11,000 songs, she has paid for almost none of it. Part of what’s striking is that she is not a culture-wants-to-be-free zealot, an unrepentant pirate or a feckless, that’s-just-the-way-I-roll Millennial. She seems to suspect there’s something wrong with this picture, but is not sure how wrong, and not sure how to fix it.

Camper van Beethoven/Cracker singer David Lowery, a singer/guitarist whose profile was highest back when indie rock was called college radio, in the mid-’80s to early ‘90s, responded with a long post on the Trichordist, a community blog run by “Artists for an Ethical Internet.” He argues that by taking and listening to music without paying a record store or label or Internet service like Spotify, she and her generational peers are effectively cheating musicians out of the value of their work.

Obviously, we have an interest in this debate.

As our long time readers know, we essentially blog for free. Sure, we generate some Amazon commissions and donations, but we certainly don't come close to earning a minimum or living wage doing this. Like many artists, we do what we do for the love of it. Simply celebrating Neil Young and his music is enough, along with the camaraderie of fellow fans.

So Thanks for Your 15 Years of Support to Thrasher's Wheat!

So what do folks think? All you can eat for free on the internet? Or support what you enjoy?


At 6/20/2012 11:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the disclaimer that Woody Guthrie put on all his labels.

Money is power. Too much money is too much power. Stupid people who have too much power because they have money are still very stupid people.

Music leaks out all the time.
Mostly on purpose because it's a cheap way to make money. The more bootlegs are generated, the more networth for the artist.

At 6/20/2012 11:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, Thank you Thrashers Wheat for 15 years of the best Neil Young coverage, bar none! It is truly appreciated and I hope there's no one that doesn't kick in something to help out!

Neil himself said mp3's are todays radio. Sad but true. When I was in grade school, I would ride my bike to the record store to buy the newest Beatles single. When I was 15, I rode the bus downtown and bought "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere" at J.C. Penneys of all places. I lived in my bedroom for a long while after I came home with that one!!

Today music just isn't as an important piece of life like it was back then. It's been replaced by social media. I'd rather have my high end stereo and albums, thank you very much!! Music WAS social media back then. Truly the good old days.

Sadly. There's nothing to fix. No one cares! Does sound matter if no one's listening? Notice how many times I've said "no one"?! I crack myself up!!

So God Bless Neil Young. Knock him all you want but he's a true original and he's still kicking and for that, I am very grateful!!

Paul McCartney can go out on tour with a crack band and backup vocalists and everyone can crow about how great he is. But we all know here, when Neil Young & Crazy Horse play, it's the real deal! And it still kicks major ass!! Hell, Neil solo kicks major ass as we recently witnessed. It's almost all we have left. Can't wait for October!! I'm not too old to stand on the floor all night either! It's a privilege, not a duty.

Thanks again Thrasher for helping to feed my life long Neil fix!! It is truly appreciated from the bottom of my heart!

Steven James

At 6/20/2012 12:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steven James, you should get Neil Fan of the Year award. That was really nice!

At 6/20/2012 01:16:00 PM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

Nice comment, Steven.


When I was a teenager in the 80's, I impatiently anticipated new albums from my favorite bands. I didn't hear any leaks (I guess leaked tapes were harder to get than leaked mp3s are). The first time I heard new music from a favorite band was generally the day I bought the tape from the record store, and went home, giddy with anticipation, slid it into my cassette player and listened to the new sounds for the first time.

It was always a really special experience.

I remember when Metallica released ...And Justice for All in 1988. CDs were out then, but I still had a tape player. I bought the tape, took it home, popped it into my walkman, donned my headphones and lay on my bed hearing that brilliant album for the very first time... savoring every moment of it.

I never knew any bootleggers, except for the occasional friend who would make a copy of an audio tape for me now and then. But those copies were always such bad quality. Sometimes you'd get a tape that was made by playing the original in one tape deck that was pointed at another tape deck. Or you'd get a 4th generation copy. Really bad quality, far worse than most mp3 bootlegs are today.

But those copies were never something I kept or put in my collection. A friend would be like, "Here, check this out!" and hand one to me. I found out about Nirvana that way - I received their first album, Bleach, from a friend, copied from a copy of a cassette tape. It sounded like crap. I loved it. So I went out and bought the much higher quality version that didn't sound like crap, replete with the cool artwork from the store.

It was a different world back then. It was much harder to expose yourself to new music except by watching MTV or listening to a friend's tape or CD, or just buying it yourself from a record store.

That model worked, even with the bootlegging. Bootlegged albums were of such terrible quality, and having one on a tape with a handwritten label that said "Maxell" on it just felt disposable and lame. It was nothing like possessing the real thing.

The feel of the cover, the smell of the printing on it. Reading along with the lyrics. Or just having the tape itself, with the printing on it, and the copyright notice, and that blurb that said, "One side of this tape is longer than the other to preserve album continuity" or something like that. It was authentic.

Nowadays things are different. I still buy albums. I just bought Monster Magnet's latest, and Neil Young's latest (I buy all of his latests, once or twice a year).

I do download stuff now and then. Sometimes if I really want to hear something, I'll download it, because I'm impatient. But it still doesn't feel the same. If I want to hear something more than once, I will go buy the CD. I need my music to be packaged with artwork and to feel authentic.

I loved paging through the Americana booklet. It's as much a tactile and visual experience as an audio one. There's something to cherish in artwork, packaging, the feel of real media, that doesn't exist at all in the shallow and ultimately disposable world of the internet.

It's impossible to transpose reality into an image on a monitor. I can take all the pictures of myself I want, but they're never going to be me. They're just empty facsimiles.

The same goes for mp3s downloaded from the web. They're empty facsimiles of something that is so much greater in the real world.

At 6/20/2012 01:17:00 PM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

It's too bad we live in a culture that doesn't value art. Today's culture sees art as a disposable internet commodity. They can just see a picture of a statue online rather than bother going to find it in real, live, hands-on 3-D reality. It's killing music. It's killed the quality of music, and now it's making music (and all art) a less viable enterprise. And nobody cares as long as they can have their vast collections of crappy mp3s to play on their tinny-sounding ipod.

The problem is that nobody really cares about art. They want to possess facsimiles of it, but they have no connection at all to the physicality of it, the realness of it.

This reflects a growing disconnection from reality on a social level throughout the plugged-in facebook civilization. We are creating facsimiles of ourselves, facsimiles of our world, facsimiles of feelings, of our ideas, etc.

I don't know what the solution to it is. I can barely think about the problem itself without getting sidetracked by all the interrelated problems.

I do believe that the problems all stem from the same thing, though - the digital universe, the internet. It degrades reality.

At 6/20/2012 01:37:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Steven - Thanks. Your thoughts are truly appreciated.

It means that much to us to mean that much to you.

@Matthew - It is this sort of comment which we value here on TW. Where someone is working thru their thought process to try and arrive at a conclusion. As opposed to being up on the soapbox declaring their opinion as correct and all others incorrect. That said, we try for the former ourselves while trying to avoid the latter.

And some days are better than others....

At 6/20/2012 03:29:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

God bless Neil and you,
Steven James.

At 6/20/2012 04:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing in crisis is the belief that art can be created in 5 minutes. So how much of that 5 minutes is worth to someone using their internet as a radio? Remember, the internet is the new radio.

Remember Steven James and I never paid to hear songs on the radio, we made requests. The sponsors paid in exchange to advertise. If we liked the song enough, we had an option to buy the 45 or go for the LP and hear other great songs.

So where is the cheating if people today are using the internet as their personal radio?

I have no sympathy for musicians whining about getting ripped off. Ya know what? Blow it out your ear, fella! That 5 minutes it took you to write a song does not entitle you to millions in the name of "art." That's abusing art. BTW, the image of a musician whining about people ripping them off from their mansions and limos is really quite funny.

At 6/20/2012 04:19:00 PM, Blogger BecauseSoundMatters said...

Just to make things clear: Neil did not not walk out of this record store without paying for "It's A Beautiful Day". I know he has a name for walking away with his own records.

Still don't have the time to write something about "Musicians as Brands" topic from earlier. It's still on my mind because there's something going on there with our good friend Neil...

Nash is going to write a book too... "Mr. Nash said his book would not avoid discussing conflicts with his bandmates or other uncomfortable subject matter." (the other NY Times)

And Gary Burden just has fineshed the design for the re-re-re-release of After The Gold Rush. You can find it here:

Really like that Stooges cover : )

At 6/20/2012 05:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen James has a really good point. The value of the music isn't diminished because people can find it for free like we did when we listened to radio, it's diminished because there is an abundance of other things and stuff available online including new musicians and bands who would never get any air time because they're local or they're not backed by the big bucks.

The biggest challenge musicians are facing today is competition. That's what is driving down the value of their work. Does that make everyone's music cheap and of no value? Of course not. There's just more stuff available. We have access to bands all around the world! That didn't happen on AM or FM radio in the 60s, 70s, or even 80s.

Art is not in crisis when no one pays. Van Gogh couldn't give his stuff away and somehow art survived back then.

At 6/20/2012 05:57:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

You want some irony? I grew up in Wichita, Kansas and moved away cause there was nothing to do.

I could've walked to Johnny Magic's garage without going through a stop light. When Neil cruises Douglas singing "Cough Up the Bucks", he is literally driving right past my old High School and is cruising right up Douglas, our own American Graffiti drag strip. Oh, what I would have given to have still been hanging around Doo-Dah during this time. It's still almost surreal to hear Neil singing "Wich-i-ta".

More irony. I had to travel BACK to Wichita to see my very first Neil concert, which also was the debut of The Shocking Pinks! The place was a quarter full but the show went on. Probably a dress rehersal of sorts. Hell, Jimi Hendrix was scheduled to play Wichita once but the show got cancelled for lack of interest. Like I said, there's not much happening in Wichita.

So what am I getting at here? I'm not even sure?! Just that things aren't always what they seem. Enjoy the now and step away from the computer once in awhile.

For the record, I'm now the proud owner of three copies of Americana!! Still can't wait for October. Everyone's going to be Rockin'

Thanks all for the kind words. Support your local record stores!!

Steven James

At 6/20/2012 07:54:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

"@Matthew - It is this sort of comment which we value here on TW. Where someone is working thru their thought process to try and arrive at a conclusion. As opposed to being up on the soapbox declaring their opinion as correct and all others incorrect. That said, we try for the former ourselves while trying to avoid the latter."

You want to post some examples of where you were "working through your thought process to try to arrive at a conclusion?" It seems to me that the only conclusion you ever reach is that Neil Young is always perfect and anyone who questions him is full of crap. So how much "working through your thought process" does that involve? If I'm wrong please feel free to post the quotes from any comment you ever made that could be construed as minutely critical.

You asked a couple topics ago why I post on here and the reason is to deflate, or at least counterweight, some of the bloated egotistical bloviation foisted on the reading public by you and your lapdogs. (Love the "good boy, Matthew" posts. Did he get a treat afterward or did you just rub his belly?) You, personally, don't seem to post much of anything worth reading anymore. It probably goes back a couple years to when Pinto(or Flounder) backed you into a corner and got you to tell him that he would probably have a long wait for another "classic" Neil Young album, thus tacitly agreeing with everything you'd been screaming at him about, namely the seeming diminution of talent as the artist aged. Now you just react like a wounded badger whenever anyone threatens to question the Party Line.

Once again, if you hate it so much, don't publish it. Otherwise, let it go. There's been more honest debate on here in the last few weeks than in the last two years, even if it does drive your pets into a frenzy.

At 6/20/2012 08:16:00 PM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

No one, you don't post on here to counterweight anything except good will and respectful dialogue. You really need to get over yourself.

At 6/20/2012 08:47:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I don't get why people are so pissed others are wealthy? No just Neil, everyone. Who cares?
Lots or tortured "Artists" on here that have produced NOTHING! If you are broke or not where you think you should be, you only have one person to blame.

At 6/20/2012 09:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It what people try to pass off as genius or art that is the issue. Art in crisis? Really? Because a few managers and record labels are in a snit because the competition is suddenly looking like a better option to your clients?

You can buy your way through life. Lots of folks do. Nothing wrong with that, but I try to stay away from those people.

But don't get your nose out joint when someone calls you out on the crap that a record label passes off as "inspired by the muse."

You gotta wonder what's in the snake oil.

At 6/20/2012 09:57:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

lol. I'm getting you laid.

At 6/20/2012 10:15:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

From our perspective, it seems that some folks may be missing the thrust of Lowery's thesis. We'll just gently suggest re-reading the linked article. For us, here's what drives the argument home -- his metaphor about a lawless urban neighborhood:

"So in this neighborhood people simply loot all the products from the shelves of the record store. People know it’s wrong, but they do it because they know they will rarely be punished for doing so. What the commercial Free Culture movement (see the “hybrid economy”) is saying is that instead of putting a police force in this neighborhood we should simply change our values and morality to accept this behavior. We should change our morality and ethics to accept looting because it is simply possible to get away with it. And nothing says freedom like getting away with it, right?

But it’s worse than that. It turns out that Verizon, AT&T, Charter etc etc are charging a toll to get into this neighborhood to get the free stuff. Further, companies like Google are selling maps (search results) that tell you where the stuff is that you want to loot … Further, in order to loot you need to have a $1,000 dollar laptop, a $500 dollar iPhone or $400 Samsumg (sic) tablet. It turns out the supposedly “free” stuff really isn’t free. In fact it’s an expensive way to get ‘free’ music… And none of that money goes to the artists!"

Lastly, we'll just add that if you care about music, then you need to care about the seriousness of the issue.

At 6/20/2012 11:08:00 PM, Blogger AW said...

How about "I never owned any music" because you only get a license on an intellectual property and you can't freely copy or use it at will even if you pay for it.

At 6/20/2012 11:26:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

@ Thrasher Wheat. It seems like some people don't really care about any of the content. Some "fans" come to bash Neil and the music regardless of the content.

Even when people pay for songs off i-tunes, artists are saying they make next to nothing off the sales. Who knows what the answer is?

At 6/21/2012 02:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, thanks for posting on this issue. This is an important issue for all who care about art in all its manifestations, not just music. And these are not easy issues. I remember having discussions in college (where Lowery's CVB played our dinning hall and I became a lifelong fan) about the ethics of taping records. The technology has changed since then, but at the core the issue remains the same.

Lowery's piece bears reading in full, not just excerpted. His writing is cogent and he presents a well thought out argument (which is all the more entertaining when you consider he's responsible for such classics as "The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon").

What's missing from his piece is, indeed, the issue raised by Daylily Dallas -- namely the question of music discovery. In the past, that was often radio, and for me it still very much is. The difference is, now I can use the Internet to listen to great radio programs around the world that have turned me on to artists I would have otherwise never discovered on local stations. And these are artists I have gone on to support by going to their lives shows and/or buying albums. So I do think there is a space for that kind of "free" discovery that needs to be recognized as ultimately supportive of musicians.

My last point touches on the sore point of pricing that has been discussed here previously. I legally own all of Neil's commercial releases in one format or another, but my preference is vinyl. Yet, while I now buy almost exclusively vinyl for other artists, I don't buy Neil's LPs. Walk into any record store (I have the good fortune of living near probably a dozen with 10 miles -- LA must be vinyl mecca), and you'll experience sticker shock when you get the tab labeled "Neil Young." I'm thankful that I'll be able to get Americana on Blu-Ray so that I still get a hi-fidelity recording, but I guess I just don't get why Neil's vinyl has to be so much more expensive than other artists.

Same with concerts -- I can't afford to go to his shows anymore. Most other big name artists are also crazy expensive, but do they really need to be? My wife and saw Prince last year for $25, belying the claim that A-list artists have to charge astronomical prices. Maybe Prince lost money on those shows, but I doubt it.

Anyway, I do hope that people will take to heart Lowery's argument about the ethics of paying for music. And I hope artists and the music industry as a whole will strive to make their art accessible while still enabling them to make a fair living.

At 6/21/2012 09:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lowery would get my sympathy if he he demonstrated exactly how much he lost in revenue from people pirating his stuff. What I see are pie charts of revenue loss and gains. Guess who is losing out here? It's not because people are pirating and stealing music, it's because people have other things to do with the money they stash away. It's because music (not art, Matt) is ACCESSIBLE to everyone on the internet, not just the people who can afford to have it. There is so much to choose from.

No one should be paying for "culture" in a democracy. (I just heard that on the radio advertising free Shakepeare in the Park.) Art and culture would have died long ago if it was left in the hands of zealots and moneychangers. And art is not in crisis just because people are not buying from record stores.

Furthermore reducing music lovers habits to urban dwellers stealing albums from a record store is clever but not true. Times do change, Mr. Rip Van Winkle, when you've been sleeping the last 100 years.

Buffalo Springfield rode out their wave of popularity back in their day. They tried making a comeback. Apparently there isn't a market for them. Too bad. But don't tell me the record industry is dying because people are pirating music. Adele and One Direction are riding on a lot money today. Nothing wrong with that. Do you think Adele's handlers care that people are listening to her stuff free?

Lowery is confusing contractual business transactions that are cut in the music industry with what is real art. In the music industry you can be really bad and make a lot of money. In the art world, you can be really good and die a pauper.

Lowery sounds like the Queen complaining that not having enough sparkly shiney things in her crown makes her dynastly look cheap. Sorry, Queenie. It's not the crown that makes you look cheap.

At 6/21/2012 10:02:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That vampire movie chick can demand 34 million for her movies because her branding is worth that. A guy who spends 5 minutes writing a song is playing russian roulette. It's either gonna make money or it's not. If he's not in this for the money, than what's the beef? Making things fair? Oh hon, nothing is fair in life. Learn to roll with the punches and do what you do best, otherwise you'll get kicked to the side of the road living the rest of your life watching the other cars go by.

At 6/21/2012 10:07:00 AM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

knowledgenomad, good points. I'm a product of the time when about the only exposure I had to music was the radio, and then a trip to the dime store with my allowance money. I eventually graduated to albums, cassettes, and then CD's, but that was long after I had given up hope of ever hearing Neil or any number of other artists on the radio, as radio had became increasingly programmed. In hindsight, there were select stations that I could have heard more on, but I wasn't aware of them. I just went out and bought things unheard, and usually never had a problem with that. These days I have very little idea what an MP3 player is, Blue Ray, etc., and wouldn't have a clue as to how to purchase individual songs off the net, or even listen to things for free. I just go out and buy it like I always have, although due to finances the last several years, very rarely as soon as they are available. I used to be sympathetic to the concept of Napster, even tho I never listened to anything that way, but I now side with the artists, that they should get paid for their intellectual property. Now how much they should get paid is a question far beyond my understanding. I think things have changed irrevocably, and it will take a while for things to sort themselves out, especially since technology will continue to change. Still, getting stiffed is not fair in my mind, and I especially don't buy the envy fueled argument that artist don't "deserve" to attain a life of "luxury".

However, I do regret that concert prices have gone up, and I would love to know the actual economics involved. I had tickets reserved to see the last tour, but had to give them up because I just couldn't justify spending my scant dollars on a concert, although I took comfort in having seen Neil 35+ times over the years. Still, that doesn't help someone who’s never seen him before. The argument has been made here on this site by many that Neil and others are guilty of some sort of bald faced grab at exorbitant profit, which on its face I have always rejected. Do Neil and others want to make a profit? Yes, and why not? But I don't know all the factors. Just throwing things out there, is it more expensive to play only small venues- venues which may be more prestigious than others, e.g. the Fox in Detroit? Are economies of scale missing in short tours? Are bio fuels more expensive than regular fuels? Do venues insist on a bigger cut for big name artists? I am in total ignorance of all these questions, like I say I'm just throwing it out there. Also, and again I'm just asking, is it more expensive for Neil to produce vinyl due to extra costs as a result of his insistence on the best sound quality? Or does it have to do with a limited run of vinyl? Are all the production and circulation factors identical for Neil’s vinyl and other vinyl? And finally, are there other considerations that simply aren't being taken into account for all the above? Just some thoughts.

A Friend Of Yours

At 6/21/2012 10:07:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Daylily Dallas.

Let's remove Lowery from the picture.

Let's discuss his fundamental point that the vast, vast majority of revenue from music goes directly to the Apple/Google/Comcast/Verizon mega conglomerates -- not to musicians.

You support that?

At 6/21/2012 10:17:00 AM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

I don't think it's necessarily wrong or counter to the value of supporting artists to listen to a song for free, within certain parameters.

As knowledgenomad points out, there is, and has always been, a place for "discovery" that is essentially free. And music discovery is very important in the eventual sale of music.

Internet radio is as legitimate an avenue as the good old radio-wave radio. I would take it a step further and say that looking someone up on youtube and listening to their song for free is perfectly acceptable too. Yes, it's sometimes a form of bootlegging, but it's also a really great way to discover music.

I discovered this great instrumental band called Earth recently (they have a song called Old Black, coincidentally), just drilling down through youtube by clicking on stuff "related" to other psychedelic bands. I had never heard these guys before, and I think they are mindblowing! So Earth now has a new fan, and I plan on buying some of their albums.

I'd much rather have a physical CD to play, but I might buy them off iTunes otherwise. One thing I will not do is download their mp3s for free and put them in my collection. That's stealing.

People who steal music, even in mp3 form, like the person in the article who has 11,000 songs and has only bought 15 CDs in her entire life, are destroying the music they seem so attached to.

It's fun to get stuff for free, so it's pretty obvious why people do it - but they aren't thinking about the consequences of what they're doing. They just want stuff for free.

But we don't go to a store and fill up our baskets with goods and then walk out. We'd be arrested.

We don't take a bunch of food from a vegetable stand and just walk away with it.

When you steal peoples' music, that's what you're doing - you're walking away without paying for goods.

There is ample opportunity to find out whether you like something or not before you buy it, so you shouldn't be complaining about quality, or dashed-off songs. Most bands, music sites, etc., allow you to preview songs. Some even stream their entire albums for free, so you don't end up buying something you don't like.

But unfortunately we are living in a social paradigm where a vast majority of young people don't understand the value of art and the importance of supporting it. They have been taught to think only of themselves. Our society teaches people to behave in selfish, thoughtless ways. It's no wonder.

Technology has created an avenue for people to very easily rip CDs and trade songs and albums. So people do it, because it's fun and it satisfies their want to obtain free stuff. And because that stuff is free, it's now viewed as ultimately disposable and unimportant. Which I think reflects a really sad irony (I think it's irony anyway), because our progressive creativity is one of the most profound and beautiful aspects of human life and civilization. I mean, without it, what would we have?

At 6/21/2012 10:27:00 AM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

Daylily, are you under the impression that every song takes 5 minutes to write?

Or are you talking about someone in particular?

Do you know that it takes Leonard Cohen a year to write a song?

Do you understand the involved, painstaking process of writing, recording, rehearsing and performing that goes into the life-cycle of a single song?

Dashing off a song in 5 minutes is not something most artists do. And you don't have to buy it anyway if you don't like it.

At 6/21/2012 10:34:00 AM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

Also, Daylily, I'm not sure what you mean by "Art, not music."

Also, I don't disagree entirely with your points about the music industry, or even paying for culture in a democracy.

But I would counter that by saying that in our unfortunately narrow capitalist world-view, value is assigned to things through a process of monetary transaction. Everything is turned into a commodity, the value of which is determined based on how much money people pay for it.

I don't like it, but that's the continuum we live in right now. So, unless we're talking about changing the fundamental structure and underlying ideological concepts of our society, art will continue to be valued in this fashion.

At 6/21/2012 11:39:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

That "vampire chick" getting pain at all is the real travesty. Imagine, the people that pay for that are our future leaders/ caretakers.

At 6/21/2012 12:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Music is in abundance online, Matt. That's for sure. I can listen to bollywood soundtracks when I get into the mood for dancing crazy like. But if people want their fill of experiencing live performance art, paintings, and sculpture, they have to get off their computers to experience it. And many go without hesitation. Ever see the line in Time Square to get discounted tickets? There is no shortage for an appreciation of the arts. As long as there are artists willing to create, there will always be a longstanding appreciation for their craft. People know when their getting ripped off and they vote with their feet.

Back to a Thrasher question about the "the man" or conglomerates taking a cut on playing the music and not giving it to the artist. Artists aren't happy with their cut?

They think they should get more than what Apple/Comcast/Verizon gives them?

I think musicians put way too much value on the work they do. Unfortunately, back in the days, consumers fed into this myth that the time musicians spent idle not making music -- shooting up, rolling joints, spreading STDs, dating models, banging 13 year old groupies, and getting buzzed had monetary value.

Their handlers created this mythical el dorado and today everyone is waking up from this long sleep of self indulgence looking at the streets once lined in gold only to be cheap veneer of spray paint and polystyrene.

If you ask Marcus Mumford why he wanted to be a musician, will he say because the chicks, big house, pools, meeting famous people, and good time? Or because he wanted to make a living wage supporting his family?

At 6/21/2012 12:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses, Fifty Foot Wave and solo artist, has set up a listener funded experiment called CASH Music. Coalition of Artist and Stake Holders.Her music through her web site is all listener funded by donations/purchases. There are different levels of involvement depended on your financial investment.
I think hers pre dates Radiohead's deal.To me she is the female Neil Young, in that her music is spanning 4 decades and she is more prolific now than ever.
The well established bands/artist can still make money. Lesser known and new artist have to be able to make some money in order to keep going. It cost money to make cd's and pay for studio time etc...
Thanks for a great sight Thrasher.

At 6/21/2012 01:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look no one said it was gonna be easy for musicians. It's hard work getting gigs. But if you're good, eventually you'll find success. Will that success give you medical insurance? Now that's an issue worth fighting for because so many do not have health insurance with reasonable premiums. Maybe if Verizon or Apple paid into the musicians union or something additional to what they pay the artists.

Too bad the US doesn't have a fair sliding scale for universal health care.

At 6/21/2012 02:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The analogy of stealing food from the market to describe when people download songs with out paying for it is incorrect. It's already been established that downloads/bootlegs are poor quality crapola like the Neiler says.

If people want super quality for their personal use, they'll go out and buy it. It sounds like you guys are crying because no one wants to buy quality, so why is that your business?

Once Degas sold a painting, that was it. He couldn't collect royalties everyone someone looked at it. Sure the exhibitors made money but Degas never saw a penny of that. Does Hockney get a cut anytime looks at his stuff?

Musicians are so full of themselves.

At 6/21/2012 02:11:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Universal health care isn't all it's cracked up to be. My father had to see five specialists over a three month period, several blood transfusions, a pacemaker replaced etc.. etc... It cost $15 TO PARK!!!

At 6/21/2012 02:24:00 PM, Blogger Arthur said...

I really like the reviews in the NYAS magazines on Neil Young bootlegs.

I personally have heaps of them, the mag and the CD's, mostly from the '90's, and all soundboard quality. Got 'em all while they were "hot" at a "record fair" that has since stopped coming to town. Got the mags at Tower for $5. Which is gone now too. "You must really like this guy." the salesperson would say. I'd smile.

My personal fave is one called "Frisco" with acoustic renditions of Sleeps With Angels. There is a mind blowing 20 minute acoustic assault of Change Your Mind on it. It's from the Bridge School Concert, Oct. 1st, 1994.
To me, the person I gave the cash to for these is irrelevant. To me this is nothing more than a drug deal. Only thing is it was done out in the open at a leased venue. But like I said, they don't come around anymore. The net changed that.

Aside from the fact you can download live shows on the internet today, back then (mid '90's) downloading shows off the net wasn't prevalent. But I do love the art...ART? on the booted CD's though, from that time. It's not Gary Burdens. But it's really cool. They're a fix that....lasts.

After all, this is "After the Gold Rush" for new artists dealing with internet copy dealings. Artists like Neil made a lot of hay back in "the days that used to be.."
If you want it bad enough, you'll steal it or pay for it.
It's a drug deal, man. Get it from the "Volume Dealers"!

At 6/21/2012 02:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arthur, your a figment of somebody else's imagination. Thankfully not mine. Anyone who has it that bad for Neil should try smoking pot and often. Or is that what happened to you? You're brain damaged?

The only thing in crisis is a failing music industry that fell asleep at the wheel while the rest of the world extended beyond their reach. Suddenly sound quality is an issue after all those years of listening to music on crappy radio frequencies and cheap stereo equipment. I'm suppose to rally for the musicians because they're not getting their fair share? Oh please, any record label that gave away billions in advance to people with the intellectual capacity of 8 year old in candy store deserve what they get! They should have never been trusted with the booty to begin with and are finally getting their comeuppance.

At 6/21/2012 04:09:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I would love to know what "Daylily Dallas " does for a living?

At 6/21/2012 04:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently I'm a philistine becuz I can't spell and I hsve no intellectual capacity because I can't aporeciate when a goddam rock legend ends up doing mary had a little lamb with the best godam garage band that god created. I am like no one except that I am someone.

At 6/21/2012 04:45:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

I heard Oh! Susannah! on the radio today for the first time. Must still be some viability in the old ways. Might still be worth 3 cents a play.

Neil released LeNoise in it's entirety on youtube and facebook, He's released multiple videos from Americanada (pun intended) and a 40 minute collage of the album via a day at the gallery. He took us for a free 'Horse Back' ride a while ago.

If it's his motivation to bleed John Q. Public of money he's doing it all wrong folks.

Remember that Jesus gave love, away for free.

At 6/21/2012 05:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is questioning his motivation. Okay, he's St. Neil. Giving it away. He's really no help to musicians today. Half of their troubles are because of the money he horded from record companies stupid enough to give it to him to make crapola like "I'm fonda Wanda." He was reckless with money throwing it away on the talent he had with Shocking Pinks. Happy Days, Neil? Not very original. Kiddie songs? Not very original. Oh, but he's a fucking genius of sorts because why? He outsmarted people to giving him their money?

At 6/21/2012 05:42:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Jesus was a freeloader and didn't have bills to pay.

At 6/21/2012 07:44:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Actually, Shocking Pinks and Kinda Fonda Wanda is very original, as he stepped outta the box. Buy some Skynyrd, or Journey, or whoever that recreates themselves the same way every album.

He's supposed to help other musician get heard? And here I thought that was for record company clowns. He helps the kids, and whatever causes stir him. Who's to judge that? I help old ladys cross the street. What are you doing?

If you don't agree, who cares. Hit the road. He said a long time ago he'd rather leave every fan than not be responisive to what and how he feels bout his craft and what he's gonna do with it. And now he's supossed to be something different? F%^k that, me, you, them, us. He respondes to the vibe he's feeling. I could care less what anyone on here says or thinks about what he does.

I never have said that every move, song, decision is pure genius. It's not. It's a human being, being damn good at what he does, and shares himself how he knows how. When others can stack up to that I'll listen. Other that that, take a shower, you're pissing on yourselves.

At 6/21/2012 08:04:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Just the fact that he has done nothing to keep ticket prices reasonable ala Pearl Jam (think he's heard of them) shows what kind of a greedy hypocritical asshole he can be. And then to come out with this PIECE OF CRAP that is supposedly "protesting" just those qualities? That's what so galling about this PIECE OF CRAP! How come no one can tell me why God Save The Queen is a "great song" as Neil called it during the Fresh Air interview? And the reason he gave for including it was pathetic. In short not only are most of these songs shitty in their original versions they're made even worse by him even wanting to cover them let alone the quality (shitty) of the covers.

At 6/21/2012 08:10:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

As for the whole stealing from artists bullshit, paybacks a bitch and so are the d-bags complaining about it!

At 6/21/2012 08:17:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

dipshitty dumbass said:

"if people want super quality for their personal use, they'll go out and buy it. It sounds like you guys are crying because no one wants to buy quality, so why is that your business?"

are you that fucking dense dipshitty? you can download any album you want, right the fuck now, FOR NOTHING, in full FLAC quality. the only thing you don't get is the cover art (is it ok if i call it cover ART?).

you are a fucking moron. you think that your oh so important artistes never smoked a joint? never did some smack? never fucked a "groupie"?

go suck a bag of dicks, shithead.

At 6/21/2012 09:25:00 PM, Blogger no one said...

Good doggie. Ruff ruff

At 6/21/2012 09:49:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

All you haters sound like a bunch of jilted lovers. What's the matter? Neil puts out over 30 studio albums, is still alive and kicking and Crazy Horse is rocking like it's 1990, but you're still upset because of The Shocking Pinks, Trans, International Harvesters, Are you Passionate and Fork in the Road? Sweet Jesus. The man has a catalog like no other and he's STILL HERE!! Like it or not. The kiddie songs rock and Crazy Horse really did make them their own.

So keep on whining in the free world. The entertainment value of your mindless chatter is priceless!! Thanks so much. You prove by your endless ranting that Neil is as relevant as ever. Either that or you don't have much to do.

Either way, thanks again! It's all about keeping things in context. It's about perspective. You've proven your love for the man as much as us dumb ass, we love our messiah fans!! Peace. God bless Neil Young!!!

Steven James

At 6/21/2012 09:50:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The Pearl Jam, Chilli Pepper, Foo Fighter fans have it easy. All they need to do is buy one CD. They all sound the same.

At 6/21/2012 09:53:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Pinks and Fork in the Road are great garage tunes. I listen to bot when working on my car.

At 6/21/2012 10:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dylan never abused his band the way Neil abused shocking pinks. And most people don't abuse flac. All they want is to hear the sample. If record sales are down, maybe it's because they don't like what they heard dipshit. Only whack jobs like Arthur abuse flac because digital downloads are actually increasing steadily. Like I said, the issue isn't quantity--,people don't want more of the same - they want variety.

At 6/21/2012 10:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Single downloads are increasing so people are looking for variety. They want pandora-like music apps. Its also possible that the loss in revenue is partly due to musicians peddling Mary had a little lamb to people who dont want that baby shit or relive some old farts childhood.

At 6/21/2012 11:01:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Part of the problem is a group gets a song that goes viral and the record company pushes out an entire cd. Wonder how may people paid for an entire album of "Fiest" or "Foster the People" and liked more than one song? When I buy Neil, Rush etc... I know I'm getting an entire album of songs I will enjoy over and over.


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