Monday, October 08, 2007

A new report released to day by the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), reveals that theft of copyright-protected products, including motion pictures, video games, sound recordings and business and entertainment software, has cost the U.S. $58 billion in annual economic output, 373,375 jobs, $16.3 billion in lost wages annually and $2.6 billion in tax revenue annually.

Perhaps the only thing I can hope to do as an individual artist is produce works of sufficient substance, merit or appeal that inspire patronage. Music is everywhere and is an essential component to many for a life worth living, but it is all too often taken for granted by many people - like fresh air or water. I believe that the government should be making educational and vocational training available to music business professionals who have been utterly displaced by these profound changes that have occured.

A lot of people express such contempt for labels without ever even knowing the full score or reality of life at a record label. Major labels employ more than fat cat lawyers and accountants. There are engineers, archivists, shipping clerks, warehouse pickers, etc. - all good, regular people who are also suffering from this radical transformation. There will always be people willing to pay for live music, but not all studio work or composition is intended for live performance. These people deserve compensation for their efforts too. Its endemic of a contemporary society that frequently values style over substance and is ruled by selfish greed and apathy towards the plight of others.

I'm 39 years old, I support a wife and two children. I have been in the music business for over twenty years. I have been a major label artist and I have swept studio floors - most of the time I've been somewhere in between. I have often worked twice as hard for half as much as people in comparable positions in other industries because I know I have been fortunate to work in the area of my heart's desire.

Now as I approach my fortieth birthday I am eeking out a living in the fragments and scraps of an industry where at this stage of the game I should have been enjoying some of the fruits of my labor. I earned the right to health care and financial security just as much as anyone else in another field. In its stead, survival has become the new success in my area of expertise.

I hope people at least think about people in my position the next time they visit lime wire.

Granted I'm not a young kid in Iraq dodging bulletts over a bullshit war, and I know its all a relative matter of perspective and that I have much more to be grateful for than bitter about.

Yet all the same I believe working artists and musicians deserve to make a living too..

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