Producer, songwriter and performer T. Bone Burnett offers a sobering treatise on the state of the digital music economy in the Washington Post:
Music runs through America’s soul and makes us who we are — as individuals, as communities, as a nation.
It fuels all the other creative arts, as I have learned working on music-infused films such as “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and television shows such as “True Detective.”
And it has driven the incredible boom in digital media that seems destined to define our age. Facts don’t lie — musical artists blanket the lists of “top most followed” on Facebook and Twitter, and “always-with-us” access to music is a big part of why smartphones and mobile broadband are the fastest-spreading technologies in human history.
But this brave new digital world has a dark side, too — and it is the responsibility of everyone who loves and cares about music to acknowledge and deal with this uncomfortable truth.
Too much of the emotional, cultural and economic value that music creates is simply lost now, slipping through the digital cracks in some cases, outright hijacked by bad actors and online parasites in others
Artists, fans and responsible music and technology businesses alike all know this. When my friend Taylor Swift spoke up for the value of our work and the righteous claim of all artists to be paid for what they do, she was celebrated and applauded — not just by her colleagues, but also by teenagers who care about the people who create the music that means something to them and businesses such as Apple that fundamentally want to do what’s right.
How bad is the problem?