Monday, October 20, 2014

A brief comment on the value of music, etc.

This is from an article in the Globe and Mail, and the writer gets it spot on. Music, books, etc. have value, and every time we steal - yes, steal - a product, we are effectively saying we don't value it, while at the same time valuing it. That is, we're being hypocritical lying thieves. (I'm speaking to myself here as much as anyone!) Here's the takeaway:

"You're thinking, 'Nobody asked writers to write. Don't they know a nice degree in commerce will serve them better in the long run? Nobody asked Iggy to roll around on stage in broken glass. He could have had a nice job as an actuary, although he would have had to keep his pants on.'

But in truth, we do ask: Every time we go to a library or shop, we want it to be full of new books, and when we search various channels (legal and illegal) for new music and movies, we expect to find them. Someone has to produce this content – this art – and sadly, the shoemakers' elves are all busy stitching elsewhere. And after it's been produced, someone has to buy it. Or not buy it, as is more likely the case.

It comes down to a question of value: Do we value artists' effort? The boring years spent in the studio or rehearsal hall, the torched drafts – Mr. Flanagan burned five early versions of his novel before he got it right... I'm glad Iggy Pop and Mr. Flanagan have brought the issue of artists' earnings out into the open, because it's too often avoided as embarrassing or demeaning or irrelevant to the process. In fact, it's crucial.

As author and cartoonist Tim Kreider wrote in a recent essay about not getting paid for his work, 'money is also how our culture defines value, and being told that what you do is of no ($0.00) value to the society you live in is, frankly, demoralizing'."

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