Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Guy Garvey sends file sharers to hell

In a slightly confused attempt to have-cake-and-eat-it, Guy Garvey has decided that some filesharers are damned, and others forgiven:

"If you genuinely can't afford music then of course you're going to rip it," the singer said.

"If you can afford it and you don't pay for it then you're going to hell and you've got your own room. Especially when it's a smaller band. There's no excuse."
In other words, damnation is now - like so much else since Cameron-Clegg got in - subject to means testing.

It's encouraging that Garvey suggests there might be shades of grey here, but that raises more questions than it answers. Is it worse for a banker to download a single track he could afford than a bloke on benefits taking 150? And what if the banker downloaded Madonna but the benefits guy was polishing off unsigned acts?

And - yes, really - doesn't it all depend what "it" is when Garvey says 'don't pay for it'. Does he mean that you should pay at moment of download? Or of listen? Or each listen? Is it worse to download a track you could afford to buy but don't listen to it, than downloading one you can afford and playing it 150 times?

If you download a song when you're on the dole, but continue to listen to it when you find a job, is that bad? And is that worse than if you buy a song because the artist is struggling, but the artist then starts to thrive at Elton John levels and doesn't then refund the cash?

Garvey then - he thinks - moves on to a different subject, which is actually the same:
He added that he felt his band were in a privileged position 20 years into their career to now have a supportive record label.

"You come across people [record labels] who've dropped Elbow all the time. If you throw a rock in London you'll hit one.

"We're lucky to have a paymaster in the current climate. It's not lost on us."
But Guy, all the "paymasters" are doing is managing the money. Your paymasters are actually the people who buy your records. The labels are middle-management. And - given that in twenty years you've been mucked about so much - don't you think it at least interesting that the clearly flawed industry of the previous years has changed just as you find a label happy to work with you and a public that is able to discover you?

I think your hell might be looking for the wrong people, don't you?


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