I’ve been quiet here about such things, but I feel an absolute need to speak on this. Bono, a guy I like a ton even through his self importance, seems to speak clearly on what he views as moral imperatives. I’m hip to that, if all that money he got can’t help him do what he thinks is good then what use is it?
Either way, Bono, you know well by now that the soapbox is a prop for a target. I’m not going to do that kind of archery, I simply disagree. I read your op-ed here and I’m on the bus with your dissentors.
I get your concern for intellectual property, I really do. I think of myself as an artist. I have a different vantage point, though: I cannot allow myself the luxury of believing my hype – I don’t have any.
You stated “The immutable laws of bandwidth tell us we’re just a few years away from being able to download an entire season of “24” in 24 seconds. Many will expect to get it free.” and “A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us — and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.”
I cry bullshit. I’m a songwriter. I’m a performer and I’m a goddamn artist. I’m not starving, nor have I been unable to find ears for my voice because thet profit has gone out of CD sales. In fact the opposite is true, I find some barriers fallen with the financial aspect taken out of the equation. I think I write more directly and sincerely knowing that I have to win an audience loyal enough to purchase tickets and merchandise. I write songs as songs and not commodities. I think it’s done me a world of good. Excellence is commonplace – I have to be better than that. I have to be better. I hope you’re not afraid that the bar raised when they lowered the price of admittance. I do not believe a market corrects itself, but I believe that value is a social contract.
Last I checked your shows attracted a lot more people than mine and you command $100+ plus a seat; I get about $15. The money is not being Robin-Hooded from you, Bono. You’re one of the last players not giving the songs away or asking people to set their own value on it, but that fails to surprise as you’re also one of the last major players to hold onto your label.
You spoke later on about the power of people and the upside down pyramid. How can you not take your own advice? If these people are smart enough to criticize a corrupt government then it follows that they can accurate set the value of a collection of music. Try not to be offended when you find that value of your recorded music is zero.
Mine is, too. So are the sounds of Gould playing the Goldberg Variations and the images of Picasso and Cezanne. It’s all out there for free.
We’re fine, though. Not only are you in good company, your arena shows still sell out. My sales increase. I constantly find a new audience. My ticket prices are going up. Don’t be scared, man. There’s great songs in you. People will steal them – but they will pay dearly to hear your words from your mouth.
Things change. Be grateful