For those struggling musicians worried by rampant piracy and the subsequent difficulties in earning a living, Tim Blanning has news for you: it was ever thus.
Writing in The New Statesman, Blanning traces the history of the music industry, finding "Modern musicians' lot compares very well to that of their predecessors." Indeed, Blanning points out the very bane of modern musicians' existence - the ability to record (and, hence, copy and distribute) music - is also the very reason that musicians have an opportunity to generate outsized returns on their musical investments.
Until music could be recorded, the only revenue available to the musician was from performances of that music. "Not even as great a virtuoso as Paganini or Liszt had a back catalogue."
The result? Today, good-but-not great bands like Coldplay can make tens of millions while the great composer Richard Wagner died a comparative pauper. With all the flaws of the modern system from pirates and ensuing economic uncertainties, we should be cheering the modern system and its digitization of musical content, even when some profit is lost to piracy.
Ever since musicians emerged from the servile but cosy world of aristocratic patronage into the harsh daylight of the public sphere, the musical profession has been a pyramid with a broad base and a sharp top. The new opportunities brought by every major technological shift have also left many casualties among musicians unable or unwilling to adapt.
cnet news December 15, 2008.
Hay que ponerlo en claro: creo que Steve Jobs lo ejemplifica bien: en esencia eran piratas. El capitalismo es piratería: comienzas pequeño, rompes la ley, tienes éxito y te legalizas. Es la historia de los negocios en EU ¿Por qué todos los estudios le están dando a Netflix todas sus películas? En un entorno capitalista todos quieren tener sus dólares, por eso se las dan sin importar lo que les paguen.Jim Sheridan, director de cine irlandés