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3 Responses to Is this guilt trip necessary? Music file sharing and the war on college students

  1. Miss Mia June 25, 2012 at 7:34 am #

    I’m in my twenties and grew up with the rise of Napster. I wait tables whilst paying off my $20,000 in student loans. And I still buy records. I have a friend in a similar situation, and he budgets $20 for one record purchase a week. I myself go once a month and limit myself to two or three purchases. Maybe we don’t have as much music as someone who downloads everything willy nilly, but we choose quality over quantity, and make a conscious effort to support the thing we love most (which in addition to music, is record shops). If you actually love music, you will find a way to budget for it.

    As for this:

    “What bugs me the most about these laments from musicians is that they give the impression that recording and performance artists are the only people who have suffered over the last decade. Sorry, but its been a little tough for teachers, manufacturing workers, radio and newspaper journalists, and about one hundred other categories of people, too—our children prominent among them.”

    …this is the exact sort of argument people give for why their shouldn’t be unions. Everyone else is suffering, so why should union members be protected? Rather than hold them up as a model of the American middle class that we should all strive for, we instead feel they should have to suffer just like everyone else. I don’t get a pension, so why should they? I don’t get health insurance, sick days, vacation pay, so why should they? I guess we should all just race to the bottom—musicians, teachers, and other public employees alike. This gets directly back to Lowery’s point: “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 [or teach our children, manufacture our goods, grow our food, etc]?”

  2. PR June 25, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Once again on both sides of this argument:

  3. Matthew Lasar June 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Miss Mia should be applauded for buying “records” – I presume this means music in forms that generate royalties for musicians. As I pointed out, I do that as well. But her response misses my central observation. We’re not going to get most college students to forgo the enormous financial windfall that comes with file sharing by ignoring their own economic crisis and portraying them as David Lowery does: a confused, over privileged bunch of know-nothings who love Apple, Google, and Verizon while thumbing their noses at performing artists.

    Re-reading Lowery’s screed, I’m even more impressed with his obtuseness. He calculates the royalty rate for all of Emily White’s 11,000 CD ripped songs at $2,139.50. “As a college student I’m sure this seems like a staggering sum of money,” he rhetorically says to her. Actually, I doubt that most four year college students think $2,139.50 is a lot of money any more. At the University of California, a year in tuition and fees and housing comes to $31,200. Many students are financing these costs via students loans, some of which will revert back to 6.8 interest rates if Congress doesn’t act soon.

    Bottom line: you can’t get people to pay attention to your problems by being oblivious to theirs.

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