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Posted by Moses Wiener

a vision

​What would have happened if Napster was welcomed as a natural development of musical consumption, instead of being vilified as the end of the music industry as we know it? I imagine the meeting of major label bosses, licensors and shareholders in 2001, frantically discussing the need for immediate, blanket prosecution of those involved, and for this kind of interaction between prospective customers to be blocked immediately.

So, instead of harnessing, vetting, and monetising the service, it became a symbol of musical thievery. And like most other instances of prohibition, its removal only bred other illegal alternatives popping up, and so on, and so on. Now, I find myself working in an industry almost resentful of itself for the repercussions of that decision: cutting off their nose to spite their face.

I realise how lucky I am to currently be paid to work at a label I love, and how many of my friends aren’t nearly as lucky, struggling to cling to their dream as a result. Once having the capability to frivolously charter jets and offer figurative briefcases of cash for a multiple album deal, labels now have to constantly scrape their revenue from mediums outside of record sales in order to stay afloat and, for that matter, pay healthy salaries to its employees (if at all). All largely because they didn’t realise the potential services like Napster actually wielded - belatedly attempting to catch up by welcoming the iTunes Store and other services. A decade or so later and the music industry model as we know it is now peering from a shaky precipice. 

There is hope, though. I was only 12 when Napster et al popped up; to me being not only a way to cop new music, but a new way for people to explore and share online. The internet as an entity was still emerging around me at the time. Meanwhile, there are kids growing up nowadays who have been surrounded by the internet and other technologies from birth, resulting in the news of a new niche clubnight, label, or prodigal 14 year-old producer from Wandsworth becoming more and more commonplace.

Being a contributor to the current musical cannon has never been easier (and at the same time competitive) than it is now, which is great. In turn, the amount of enterprising musicians, music lovers and the like starting up these nights, labels, streaming services - all in an increasingly removed way from the rusting model that preceded it - is on a thrilling rise. People are finding new and innovative ways to interact through music in earnest. In a climate where making money off of music is at a low point, more and more people are contributing somehow. The developments in the industry over the last few years seem to have left people asking, ‘what can I do to keep good music in existence?’ 

I proudly joined Live For The Funk earlier this year following a call to arms of people who shared my childish vision of what working in music should involve. A vision of sharing music for the love. A vision of music dictated by hearts, not charts. A vision, that some day, working ‘in the music industry’ will again become fully viable, and (perhaps idealistically) leaving behind only those who see the finance as secondary to the uninhibited joys of music. I’m not sure what both LFTF or the music industry as a whole has in store for 2013, but short of becoming homeless for my love – I’ll be here sharing the music that moves me.



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