Thoughts About Survival Part 5

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The situation regarding access to basically all music through the internet- past and present- with downloads, streaming, YouTube, etc., for free, is not going to change. If a listener really wants to find something recorded by an artist, from the studio or from a concert, they can find it, and usually find a way to access it without charge. And, considering the irresponsible, greed-based treatment of the public by major labels, coupled with the fact that most internet users can get tons of other incredible materials (communication systems like Facebook, Shareware, Wikipedia, photographs, films, etc., etc., etc.) for free, it’s going to be next to impossible to convince some music fans that paying for the right to listen to an artist’s music is necessary.

This makes many of my colleagues angry because, in addition to the loss of income (like everyone else, musicians have to pay the bills), artists lose a great deal of creative control over how their material is used, perceived, documented. But what’s the point in investing energy in fighting the situation? It’s done. It’s not going to go back to an early model of sustainability. Instead, it’s going to be necessary for the musicians to develop a new paradigm. I indicate that it’s going to be the musicians because we’re the ones with the most at stake- with both our creative work and our survival. Yes, all the contemporary changes to the music landscape are an incredible challenge (and I have decided to not go into the nuts and bolts of contemporary touring due to lack of space, but let the facts that I’ve had to more or less abandon touring in the U.S. for economic reasons, and that one-nighters in Europe have changed from several concerts in a row within one country to my most recent itinerary- Italy to Scotland to eastern Germany to Romania to Hungary to Switzerland; then add to this equation the cultural climate in former “artist utopias” [from an American perspective anyway] such as Sweden and the Netherlands). But these developments have also resulted in some extraordinary improvements and possibilities.