SXSW Panel: Love the Art, Fuck the Artist

A bull market for artist compensation? Dream on.

Artists getting screwed over by the record industry isn’t new, but the current state of the state might be the worst ever. This discussion led by Jay Rosenthal, Senior VP and General Counsel of the National Music Publishers’ Association, moved quickly through compensation – or rather the lack of it – with songwriters being a particular focus.

Photo by Gary Miller

Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker leader David Lowery has been particularly vocal about the this issue online and was no different in person. He spoke about his experience with forces that try to silence dissent against the status quo, calling it the Lars Ulrich effect, after the Metallica drummer who first spoke out against file sharing and nearly had his head chopped off as a result.

Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation blamed a new playing field.

“It’s not the evil record companies anymore. It’s the ISPs and Googles of the world," he stressed.

David Zierler of Ingrooves, a digital music distribution company, seems to think rates paid to artists are going to increase in the near future, saying, “We’re bullish on where things are going.” Lowery balked at the characterization, pointing to the incredibly low current rates that could only go up.

Although everyone laughed when Hilton pointed out that Spotify doesn’t make any money, he rounded things out with the most cogent thought of the hour: “People have to be reminded that music is art.”

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Love the Art Fuck the Artist, SXSW Music 2014, Jay Rosenthal, National Music Publishers’ Association, David Lowery, Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven, Eric Hilton, Thievery Corporation, David Zierler, Ingrooves, Lars Ulrich, Metallica

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