Well I think I speak for all the not-entirely-legal music downloading community when I say “Oh fuck, Lily Allen’s weighed into the piracy debate“. I think she might have been panicked by International Talk Like a Pirate day. Lily says, and I quote:
Seeming to imply that the evil rich overlords of music are indifferent to the suffering of mediocre musicians. Hm, I can’t imagine why Lily would be bothered by the trials of the bland, the mundane, the humdrum purveyors of beige music. Not at all.
I’d just like to point out here that while it’s certainly not ideal for the desperate muso, I should imagine that any musicians who’d genuinely be pushed over the poverty line by their sales dropping are probably saving a fortune on their own music collections by Limewiring the shit out of that bitch. In fact the only people I’d say should be concerned about the loss in profits are the cocaine dealers of the semi celebrity pop idol winners.
Not that I’m claiming torrenters are guiltless. It is taking somebody else’s work without paying the requested fee – which is pretty unreasonable for something which, when all is said and done, is entertainment. At the very least it’s impolite. The point, however, is moot, and not one Lily should be worried about. The people with a real stake in this are the pushers, the dealers, the recording industry gods like Sony and EMI who’ve built up a massive advantage over the competition. Although they’ve certainly got the resources to construct a new medium that works for both artists and consumers, it’s never going to be quite as profitable for them as the status quo.
The current situation is, as far as I can see, simply massively influential bodies clinging by the fingernails to a dying medium that has been paying their amphetamine bills for decades. Artists weighing into the debate are simply footsoldiers who have been convinced they have something to lose. Chill out, Lily. There’ll always be teenage chavs. I don’t think anyone can say that the current setup is particularly great for anyone save the suits who run it.
The simple fact is that these megalithic entities have been acting like such pricks to artists and fans alike over the years, they realise nobody would give a shit if they turned up their heels in the wake of the revolution. So they use puppets, like Lars Ulrich, Patrick Wolf and, indeed, Lily Allen, to promote their cause. The visionaries who can see the change in the wind are capitalising on the situation; you only need to see the sales figures on In Rainbows to realise that even if “pay me what you like” isn’t a sustainable paradigm, you can certainly capitalise on that kind of shenanigans.
The future belongs to the innovators. Imminently, a new way of distributing entertainment will be demanded; Big Music’s leverage is slipping. Without it, compromise will be needed to bring customers and artists into their fold. Possibly after someone’s explained the concept of compromise to them. In the meantime, fresh blood, the Spotifies and the like will be surging ahead, becoming new giants, earning the right for the next decade or so to be total and complete arseholes.