In the past, hearing a government official from the Isle of Man say “We are not going to stop piracy, so let’s embrace it” would be very strange. But the self-governing island in the Irish Sea is not encouraging the lawless ways of some band of Jack Sparrow types. Well, not quite.
What the principality is proposing is legalizing the unlimited download of music, by making the internet service providers (ISPs) pay a ‘nominal’ compulsory tax.
This idea is not new. At a music conference in 2007 I heard former Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner propose this very model as the only viable way of making music profitable in the 21st century.
It makes a lot of sense. Young downloaders are now so accustomed to getting their music for free – remember the stats involved in Radiohead’s In Rainbows stunt? – that the only way to ensure artists and labels get their slice of the pie is to charge a negligible, inescapable fee at the ISP sign-up stage.
The witch hunts don’t work. The internet is open, and to criminalize a whole generation is absurd. And although much-hyped free streaming services like Spotify and Last FM are all very well if you’re sat at your computer all day, we still value ownership, and the ability to take music with us on our MP3 players.
Apple won’t like it, but the ISP charge model is the only solution. Who would have thought it would take the Isle of Man to lead the way?
Filed under internet, music
Remember a few years ago when every cultural commentator and his uncle was heralding a new age of direct communication between artist and fan via the wonder of MySpace? Well Twitter takes this trend to its ultimate conclusion, so now we know exactly when Nick Cave is “drinking my eleventh strawberry daiquiri and talking to Tracy Pew via Ouiji board” or when Calvin Harris is simply asking the world, “am I a cunt?”
Yes… and they’re not the only ones. The music world is gradually discovering the ultra-immediate, 140-character realm of inhuman contact that Twitter provides. Admittedly, many bands and singers have started accounts only to leave them vacant after a few posts (Lily Allen), some are guilty of spamming you silly with endless whimsy (MC Hammer), while others are clearly just façades for the stars’ marketeers/web monkeys (Britney Spears, Oasis).
But despite all this, I still find it fascinating (especially when it goes wrong) and I reckon we’re gonna see an upsurge of artists joining in the next year. So I’ve made this list of bands, singers and rappers already on Twitter as a reference for anyone else who’s interested. Please leave a comment if you’ve come across anyone I’ve missed. And of course, feel free to follow me @NickMitchell.
We Are The Physics
Boom Bip (from Neon Neon)
Notorious BIG (from beyond the grave, obv)
Kurt Cobain (ditto)
Trent Reznor (NIN)
Robert Smith (The Cure)
Tokyo Police Club
Michael Jackson (OK, maybe not)
The Duke Special
Questlove (The Roots)
Bondo do Role
Peter Bjorn and John
Funeral For A Friend
Hot Hot Heat
P.S. It’s not very rock’n’roll though is it? I can’t imagine Keith Moon tapping away at his laptop: “drove Rolls into hotel pool, woopsy!”
The Onion is probably the only website that can be consistently relied on to make me laugh. Others, such as The Daily Mash, have made a valiant effort at importing its news satire to a British audience, but The Onion is the original and best – and has perfected the art of turning mundane reality into mock news.
A couple of pieces this week really hit the nail on the head. First, for anyone who has left a small town behind to live in a city and is planning to return home for Christmas (or Thanksgiving), the tale of Jordan McCabe will ring eerily true:
“Early reports indicate that the mingling of assholes will likely trigger a fight between the hours of 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.”
Secondly, any James Blunt bashing (and bashing of those who buy his records) is always welcome on this blog.
Got any other Onion favourites? Care to share?