On June 16, NPR published an article by a 20 year-old intern concerning her generation’s aversion to paying for music in favor of a larger Spotify-esque system where all artists’ music can be available for listening that will pay based on play counts. Well that sounds very nice, but David Lowery, the frontman behind ’80s indie rockers Camper Van Beethoven and ’90s indie rockers Cracker, had a few thousand words to say about that.
In an essay posted on The Trichordist: Artists for an Ethical Internet, Lowery addresses the concerns White hints at in her essay and delves into them ten-fold, pointing out the hypocrisy of Free Culture, the myths of who gets what from record sales, and the tragic repercussions of not paying for music.
This is an issue that has divided many music listeners since the dawn of Napster. The most ardent downloader has to at least partially know something is wrong here. I personally buy 95% of the music I listen to, typically on CD, but can’t rightfully preach a holier-than-thou stance as I worked at a record store for four years where I purchased several used CDs and records at a pretty sizable discount which essentially more than doubled my already pretty large collection. I’m also a physical purist and typically refuse to pay for music that is not tangible, but enough of my yackin’—read these two articles now and then listen to a CVB tune from an album I purchased during my tenure at one of the last standing independent music retailers on Long Island.
“I Never Owned Any Music to Begin With” by Emily White
“Letter to Emily White at All Songs Considered” by David Lowery
Camper Van Beethoven — “Take the Skinheads Bowling”