Stop blaming music lovers

DCF 1.0

Music lovers are currently in a difficult position. On one hand, music is more abundant and accessible than ever before. On the other hand, music lovers are often a target for finger pointing and blame. However, it was music lovers who copied cassette tapes from their friends. It was music lovers who built and used Napster to acquire and share more of the music they loved. It was music lovers who sought ways to get free music from unauthorised sources. It was music lovers who built the online streaming services that are currently being criticised for decimating artists’ revenue.

They didn’t do these things with malicious intent, hell-bent on bankrupting the people who make their favourite music. They did these things because they wanted more music. The problem was that there wasn’t enough dialogue with the music industry to help music lovers understand how to get more music in a way that’s respectful and sustainable for the artists. That dialogue is happening now, but we’ve still got a long way to go. And it’s a dialogue that needs to happen on an industry-wide scale as well as between artists and their own audiences.

Music lovers are the ones buying the music, so artists must listen to what they want. Ask questions like, “What do you want to pay for?” “What is your favourite way to listen to music?” “How would you prefer to hear about new recordings or performances?” There needs to be a lot more of these kinds of conversations happening.