By now, it seems a huge percentage of the music business has read the NPR blog post titled "I Never Owned Any Music To Begin With," written by 20-year-old intern Emily White and published Sunday. She wrote, "I am an avid music listener, concertgoer, and college radio DJ. My world is music-centric," but admits "I've only bought 15 CDs in my lifetime. Yet, my entire iTunes library exceeds 11,000 songs."
She stresses that nearly all of her music was obtained not from illegal downloading but from ripping CDs. She says she wants to support the musicians she loves, and although she knows that concert tickets and merch won't achieve that, "I honestly don't think my peers and I will ever pay for albums. [However], I do think we will pay for convenience.
"What I want is one massive Spotify-like catalog of music that will sync to my phone and various home entertainment devices. With this new universal database, everyone would have convenient access to everything that has ever been recorded, and performance royalties would be distributed based on play counts (hopefully with more money going back to the artist than the present model). All I require is the ability to listen to what I want, when I want and how I want it. Is that too much to ask?"
There has been quite a response to this post - we know because we've spend an enormous amount of time talking about it over the past couple of days. Musician/blogger/music-business college instructor David Lowery responded to Emily's post with a very long post of his own, detailing (basically) why consumers of music should be compensating creators of music, and why he feels White "has been been badly misinformed by the Free Culture movement."
There have been many, many other opinions voiced on the matter in the past 48 hours.
This is an issue that cuts to the heart of our business, and it points up a generational divide that has been a long time coming. Rather than weighing in at length about what we think - there are merits to both sides of the issue, and the pursuit of an equitable solution is one of the major challenges facing the music business - we want to know what you think. Please read the posts carefully (at least the main points in Lowery's very long post), because there has been a lot of mis-reporting of their points, and weigh in below in the comments section. If you're interested in writing a responsible guest post, hit me at firstname.lastname@example.org.