As Lupe Fiasco explains at the start of this interview for okayplayer, his imminently-dropping album Lasers (Love Always Shines Every time Remember the Smile) is a reminder that, no matter how bad things seem, there is always something new to strive for - beautiful.
He then goes on to slag off 'malicious', music-leaking; free-distributing; taking-the-money-out-my-mouth; jealous, beg-friends and criminals who have leaked, blogged, downloaded and shared his tracks that now appear in posts such as this one.
Personally, I think Lupe is a mad talented guy; I consider myself a fan (and at 35 it's not a term I use regularly), however, I'm sure I am not the only Lupe fan that doesn't have the time or motivation to trawl through artist websites in eager anticipation of their next release. Sorry Lupe, I like you, but, your just not that important in my life. Without bloggers raising the awarness of artists and their work (for which they receive no direct income), I and many, many others wouldn't have a clue when the next hot album by our favourite artist is dropping. At least, not until we saw the billboard; glossy magazine ad; TV interviews; single; video and sticker campaign that the labels have had to spend millions on in the pre-internet sales environment.
And all for you to dub it on the twin-deck cassette recorder; you should be ashamed...
The arguments put forward by artists (and labels... mostly labels) and the counter-arguments of bloggers and the millions of file-sharers/downloaders are well documented. In fact, they have been being documented and discussed both in and out of the music industry for years now. However, what's the answer...or answers? Well, it would seem they are many, and varied. Even this week, Eskay from NahRight encapsulates some key issues from a bloggers perspective in his article, On rap blogging and music leaks and Just Blaze attempts a more balanced representation of the issues of rights, access, promotion, fame and finance that fuel this debate:
Well, it seems the answer is unclear. Seemingly, all interested parties are having far more success describing the problem than they are with developing solutions that offer a compromise position for all stakeholders. But who is holding a stake? On the industry side it is much easier to identify the stakeholders. This is not entirely to do with them whinging around the internet about thieving bloggers and free-loading kids but also because, what is at risk (£$£$£$£$£), is more easily recognisable to most consumers and producers than the stake put-up by the consumer of the product. To summerise, in the current climate of expanding blogging and file-sharing, the labels lose money and the artists lose money. But what is it that justifies the free music downloading consumers actions in denying the artist, label and distributor their fair cut of the product they produced? The question here is about what the consumer has been denied in the time before the unsolicited intervention of the internet into a previously flourishing industry. Umair Heck on Bubblegeneration, offers some context on the history of the situation; some specifics regarding the breakdown of the contract between producer and consumer and, most interestingly, some models for future reorganisation:
The argument for the consumers negation on its contract with the record industry is a persuasive one but does it justify mass-boycotting of payment for music being produced now? This argument is harder to back. Do we want record companies acting like art dealers and claiming the vast majority of the profits for the endeavours of creative minds? Hell no! but, do we want artist to be rewarded for supplying us consumers with meaningful experiences? well, yes, really we know that should be a yes, definitely a yes. Am I justified in denying the artist his cut (however disproportionate to the industys) in order to protest about my mistreatment at the hands of record labels? harder to answer that one. It is worth remembering though, that despite all the theories and analysis, people act out of greed with great regularity, and there is much scope for that as the battle to get a foothold in the future music industry continues online.
Meanwhile, here's the first single from Lupe's new album - I'm Beamin
Don't worry Lupe, no charge for my representation, this time.