I just read some sad news of the passing of another venerable record store. Cutler's in New Haven, after 64 years, became the latest victim of illegal downloads. I have fond memories of browsing through the racks and discovering a lot of new music at Cutler's.
I thought about this particular bit of news more after reading this blog post by an NPR intern, which seems representative of the new normal. The part that really stands out (my italics):
"As I've grown up, I've come to realize the gravity of what file-sharing means to the musicians I love. I can't support them with concert tickets and t-shirts alone. But I honestly don't think my peers and I will ever pay for albums. I do think we will pay for convenience."
And this long, well-considered response to the NPR post, with the following rhetorical questions:
"Why do we value the network and hardware that delivers music but not the music itself?
Why are we willing to pay for computers, iPods, smartphones, data plans, and high speed internet access but not the music itself?
Why do we gladly give our money to some of the largest richest corporations in the world but not the companies and individuals who create and sell music?
This is a bit of hyperbole to emphasize the point. But it’s as if:
Networks: Giant mega corporations. Cool! have some money!
Hardware: Giant mega corporations. Cool! have some money!
Artists: 99.9 % lower middle class. Screw you, you greedy bastards!"
The article could've also included "Stores: Independent record stores. Screw you, if I pay for music I'm going to give my money to Apple iTunes and Amazon, because it's too inconvenient to drag my lazy ass to your store."
I have more thoughts on the subject, which I may or may not post.