I was surprised to see Lily Allen complain about file-sharing. I had imagined she might have been more enlightened than that. Seems not. And all these others in support of her. What planet are they on? Really, the train has left the station with this argument. Technology has disrupted the old way of doing things in the record business. That is never coming back for good or for bad. These artists should show some insight and embrace the future in an imaginative way and not make themselves seem quite so conservative and self-interested or just simply ill-informed by supporting a system that is being consigned to history.
It is almost a cliche now to hear people say that we musicians are entitled to be paid for our recordings. If that is so then history has done us a terrible injustice. I've been in the biz a long time and have worked with thousands. The number I have come across who actually earned significantly from their recorded works is virtually zero. Why? Because the record business has always been about the golden egg - i.e. all its focus was on the million seller. Most of the wealth generated from recordings went into the coffers of a relatively small group. They were among the most privileged people in history. Those who bitch about the demise of the old record business make an argument in favour of the future being like the past. Hopefully it won't be.
If the riches in music had historically been more evenly spread allowing recording artists in general to finance their careers from royalties, and if the new tech was genuinely putting such artists in jeopardy, then Lily and her complainers would have a case. As this is not even close to being true they should be silent and go enjoy their multi-millions. The rest of us can forge the future without them. The age of the golden egg is over.
written 2009 when the singer was attacked for complaining
about how the Internet was destroying the music biz
LILY & THE COMPLAINERS
music • 23.09.09