SHOULD MUSIC BE FREE? [Rock & Rap Confidential/1997].... Throughout most of human history, music has been free. Over the past century, the advance of technology allowed music to be turned into various configurations that could be sold. Now the further advance of technology is returning music to its original, free state.
RIAA president Hillary Rosen, writing in Billboard, said: "Until the appropriate balance between free- flowing information and intellectual property is struck, the Internet can never achieve its potential to become a viable medium for the sale of music."
We sympathize with those artists who, after being cheated by record company accounting and/or being forced to give up a piece of their own pie in order to get a record deal or tour support, will again be hurt financially by the Internet. As artists ourselves, we also sympathize with musicians who want to retain control of what music of theirs is released and how it is presented.
But the reality of the new millennium is that there will be no "appropriate balance between free- flowing information and intellectual property." There are only two choices. We can run for protection into the arms of an obsolete, corrupt music industry that, through high prices, payola, censorship, and incredibly narrow artist rosters keeps us from hearing most of the music made on our planet. Or we can, with open arms, embrace the new technology and its potential to make all the music available to all the people all the time.
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