All the record company execs (and rich musicians) who gripe that the Internet is “killing music” should look to me - and everyone else I know, for that matter - for proof that this is not, in fact, the case.
Several days ago, I was listening to a show on an Internet radio station, and I heard a song I really liked from a band that I was unfamiliar with - namely, the Sadies. I knew the Sadies were going to be playing here in Brighton, but I also knew that the gig was going to cost £8, and I wasn’t convinced that I wanted to shell out so much money for a band I might not enjoy. So I went looking for info about the band online in the hopes of finding some more of their music to download.
Sure enough, the Sadies have a website where they very kindly offer some free MP3s. I downloaded the songs and listened to them over the course of a few days, and I liked the sound so much that I decided to go to the concert after all. On top of that, I bought one of their CDs directly from them at the gig - so thanks to airtime on an Internet radio show and the free MP3s they offered on their site, the Sadies wound up with £10 in hand from the CD I bought, plus whatever money they may have made from the very well-attended concert. That’s not too shabby.
It’s not just an isolated case, either. I’ve found lately that whenever a band offers MP3s to download, I’m more likely to go to their gigs, and their songs stick in my head for much longer after the gig, even if I don’t wind up buying a CD on the night.
So the way I see it, the Internet is saving music. I think it’s brilliant that more and more musicians are embracing the opportunities that the Web has to offer, rather than buying into the record company hype that they’ll never make any money if they give songs away for free. If anything, bands today should be able to make more money by cutting out the middleman - i.e., record companies. And with the exception of really big stars, record companies are the only ones who have ever really been making money anyway - which is precisely why they’re running scared now.
Well, I say good riddance to greedy record company executives and self-important rock stars alike. Power to the people! Power to the real musicians! Download MP3s now!