The Internet is buzzing from Saturday’s post by an intern at NPR who said she never owned music, much like others in her generation:
I am an avid music-listener, concert-goer, and college radio DJ. My world is music-centric. I’ve only bought 15 CDs in my lifetime. Yet, my entire iTunes library exceeds 11,000 songs.
But when she said she’d pay for “convenience,” the music-savvy folks at Seattle Weekly said, “Quick, Somebody Tell NPR About Rhapsody!”
Rhapsody was founded to provide a legal alternative to file-sharing, and it remains central to the company’s ethos and business practices. We’ve commented that paid streaming services are the only means by which artists can be compensated for every play, and that we work diligently to ensure that revenue flows to all the rights holders. Unfortunately, the preponderance of free legal services as well as of those whose legality is more questionable, have clouded perceptions about streaming and what it means to artists.
It is a complicated issue, but Cracker/Camper VanBeethoven frontman/professor/crusader for artists David Lowery breaks down the emotional, ethical and business arguments in an eloquent post on his blog, The Trichordist, by reminding us that we are all responsible. You can’t just blame the labels, claim that artists are rich anyway (Lowery cites the average musician’s income at $35,000 per year) or jump on the “free culture” bandwagon.
…fairness for musicians is a problem that requires each of us to individually look at our own actions, values and choices and try to anticipate the consequences of our choices.
…Many in your generation are willing to pay a little extra to buy “fair trade” coffee that insures the workers that harvested the coffee were paid fairly. Many in your generation will pay a little more to buy clothing and shoes from manufacturers that certify they don’t use sweatshops. Many in your generation pressured Apple to examine working conditions at Foxconn in China. Your generation is largely responsible for the recent cultural changes that has given more equality to same sex couples. On nearly every count your generation is much more ethical and fair than my generation. Except for one thing. Artist rights.
By paying for music, you are showing your support for artists and the industry who depends on them for its vitality. You’re also paying for the convenience of a service that makes it easy to discover, access and play the music you love, on your favorite device, anywhere you are. We take this very seriously at Rhapsody, which is why we offer a premium service–with original editorial content, music discovery tools and availability on the most devices– to our subscribers, which will keep the revenue coming to artists. We all are responsible for the health of the music industry. Expect to hear more on this topic, but in the meantime, read David’s post. I’ve even made you a soundtrack.