The music revolution will be digitized

Janelle Monae

As the music industry reluctantly drifts further and further away from selling tangible products and more and more exciting online options for listening have launched, we thought we’d consult with one group of people with a unique investment in this matter — the musicians. How do they feel about Spotify, which lets listeners share and listen to complete albums for free? Or how about the coming iCloud, which will allow users to store all of their MP3s with a third party, however illegally any of the files may have initially been obtained?

Sameer Gadhia, Young the Giant

“Every artist would love to make millions, but it keeps the power with the people. Before it used to be a sure thing where if you had a record deal you’d make money and sell albums. Now it’s a little bit harder and there’s so many people you have to compete with. You compete with literally anyone who wants to put out albums online. It’s a lot harder, but it produces better music. It’s harder for the musicians but it’s great for the fans.”

David Wax, David Wax Museum

“ I don’t have any of those programs. I’ve heard really positive things about Spotify and my impression of it is very positive, but I’ve never actually dug into it myself.  … We don’t hold dear to [our songs] at all, but they are important for a band that tours as much as we do. We sell a lot of records on the road and that’s a big part of our income.”

Conor Oberst, Bright Eyes

“Everything is changing. Right now I feel like we’re living in this Wild West period and hopefully it’ll get sorted out and we’ll come to some place where the listeners and the fans can get the music quickly and conveniently and enjoy it and the people who make the music can get paid. I mean, that’s the goal. I feel like something like Spotify could potentially work.”

Janelle Monae

“Technology is definitely moving at a rapid speed, more than our brains can process. I just think man needs to think it over and think about the artists involved and make sure they’re respectful of artist rights. Also, we as consumers need to ask ourselves what things we want to preserve. Do we want everything at our disposal? Or are there some things we want to go out and get, like albums. … There has to be balance involved from the hands who are making them and the consumers who are buying into it.”

— With additional reporting by Heidi Patalano and Linda Laban



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