I can identify (or Thoughts on the Why Music Matters initiative)

17 08 2011

The Beatles are why I like music so much and they were the first band I ever cared about.  I’ve loved them since I was four, maybe five.  Though I’ve never been tossed out of my house — not yet, anyway! — I identified with this short film.   Apparently, the Beatles have approved this movie and have thrown their support behind the Why Music Matters campaign.

First, enjoy the film.  It may speak to you.

Second, I found it interesting and slightly surprising — which was a bit naive of me — that the Why Music Matters campaign does not appear to deal with music as an art form, at least not solely for the sake of art.  With the backing of what’s left of the major record companies and a number of artists, Why Music Matters seems aimed at convincing people that music is an art form worthy of them spending their money on it.  It’s a backdoor way of saying, “Don’t download music for free.”  I support artists in wanting to be paid for their creative efforts, but I think people should know what message is being sent.  Here’s a little blurb on WMM from Paul McCartney’s website:

The Music Matters campaign was first launched in March 2010 as a credible artist driven campaign. In its first year it has attracted unanimous support from all sectors of the music industry – managers, all four major record labels (Universal, Sony, Warners and EMI) and independents, publishers and retailers as well as some of the worlds most loved artists. In recent times technological advances mean that music is more readily available and accessible than ever before. Music Matters aims to start a conversation to get people thinking about how valuable music is, where they get their music from and through this make the right ethical choices when consuming music.

This phase of Music Matters will significantly ramp up online consumer engagement over the next twelve months, asking music fans to directly get involved and pledge their support. Music Matters is also encouraging artists – both established and emerging – to contribute videos and commentary about the enduring value of music and what it means to them.

I suppose that showing people the value of music, both personally and to culture, and them asking them (subtly, nicely) not to steal that music is a softer approach.  It probably beats the record industry suing individual downloaders thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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