Sunday, February 13, 2011

Will.i.am not iTunes fan

Ridiculously-named-and-punctuated welcome-outstayer Will.i.am is warning people about iTunes and the potential capacity for evil therein:

"Believe me, I love Apple...but iTunes shouldn't be the answer," said Will.IAm in his keynote address at the Grammy Foundation's 13th annual Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel. "[For artists], it should be the scariest thing in the world."

Will.I.am described the plight of the modern musician as "like selling echoes" and pushed the need for young singers and songwriters to become experts in computer science so they may better benefit from a fast-paced marketplace.
To be fair, we've got little to go on other than a brief gloss in the Hollywood Reporter, so perhaps he did stand up his comments on iTunes a little more solidly; from this, though, it's clear that Mr Am has long since crossed from the artists to the side of the Incumbent Music Industry. iTunes shouldn't be any more scary than WalMart; in fact, because it's open to much more catalogue and will deal with anyone, it's a lot less scary than WalMart. Surely?

The idea that selling music is like selling echoes is quite an acute phrase; but suggesting that computer science is the answer sounds more like a bloke who has recently signed on with Intel trying to justify his salary rather than a considered opinion.

The point about a warm digital world is that musicians and customers shouldn't need to know anything about computer science, unless they want to. It should be like a car - easy to pick the one you need, easy to drive and reluctant to fail. If every musician needs to be able to solder a motherboard and code an online store, that's a failure of technology.

The DIY ethos is brilliant, but nobody ever thought you should take nightschool lessons in how to maintain a photocopier before you started a punk fanzine.

Understanding the marketplace; loving the software: yes. But being a computer scientist? Nice but not essential, surely?


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