Jeff Tweedy of Wilco makes some points about music online, at Wired:
Tweedy: We live in a connected world now. Some find that frightening. If people are downloading our music, they’re listening to it. The internet is like radio for us.
WN: You don’t agree with the argument that file sharing hurts musicians’ ability to earn a living?
Tweedy: I don’t believe every download is a lost sale.
WN: What if the efforts to stop unauthorized music file sharing are successful? How would that change culture?
Tweedy: If they succeed, it will damage the culture and industry they say they’re trying to save.
What if there was a movement to shut down libraries because book publishers and authors were up in arms over the idea that people are reading books for free? It would send a message that books are only for the elite who can afford them.
Stop trying to treat music like it’s a tennis shoe, something to be branded. If the music industry wants to save money, they should take a look at some of their six-figure executive expense accounts. All those lawsuits can’t be cheap, either.
WN: How do you feel about efforts to control how music flows through the online world with digital rights management technologies?
Tweedy: A piece of art is not a loaf of bread. When someone steals a loaf of bread from the store, that’s it. The loaf of bread is gone. When someone downloads a piece of music, it’s just data until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their mind, their subjective experience. How they perceive your work changes your work.
Treating your audience like thieves is absurd. Anyone who chooses to listen to our music becomes a collaborator.
People who look at music as commerce don’t understand that. They are talking about pieces of plastic they want to sell, packages of intellectual property.
I’m not interested in selling pieces of plastic.