Guest post by Blake Morgan (copyright in the author)
Relativity Media and Google asked if I’d sit down and talk about my life in music, my new record, and the current battle being waged between musicians and Pandora that’s been garnering so many headlines. It was a terrific conversation that lasted almost two hours. Of course the piece they were looking to do was only going to be around five to eight minutes, and in the end it still turned out to be over 10 minutes long. But, there were a couple of points I felt were important beyond what was kept for the piece that I’d like to briefly underline here.
The first is that as big as the battle with Pandora is, the battle musicians are now saddled up for across the board is even bigger. Calling out Pandora on its unscrupulous double-talk to Congress and Wall Street, and fighting to get them to change their behavior is necessary and righteous. And I’m optimistic that in the long run that battle will get won. But we also have to keep our eyes on the prize: ending ad-funded piracy.
As long as the music world is bleeding revenue from the theft of our music (which in turn is sponsored by giant corporations that place ads right on the illegal download pages), the real problem won’t get solved. Our work, and our livelihoods will continue to be stolen right out from under us. Again, I’m optimistic, and I trust that we can focus on more than one righteous battle at a time. Both the important smaller one, and the over-reaching larger one.
Second, I wanted to just underline a whiff of good news in all this that I’ve been noticing. For the first time in this struggle, I’m seeing music lovers join music makers in our outrage. I’m getting letters and emails, messages, and tweets from music-loving people who are raising their own voices and saying, “I’m with you! I really understand this now…we want to get the music that matters to us, and we want you to get paid fairly.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people tell me this, and it’s in stark contrast to what I’ve heard over the last ten years.
So I’m not hopeful in a vacuum…I believe the consciousness is changing, and that there’s a great foundation to build on. There’s so much work to do, and little time to do it if we’re going to save the young musicians out there who are hoping in turn to be musicians as their profession.
You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.
Let’s win these fights. Let’s get to work.