May. 11th, 2009

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Some thoughts evoked by this rant, and dedicated, with decidedly mixed feelings, to my old colleagues at Liquid Audio:

Sometimes I read about how the major labels are just in the music business for the money, they don't really care about music, and they're oppressing the artists. Sometimes I also read that they're oppressing innovative music industry start-ups.

Okay, maybe they are, but let's be honest: Internet start-ups are in it for the money too. Not that everyone who works there is motivated purely by profit. (Label employees aren't either.) But it's the nature of business. Businesses exist to make money.

This kind of false opposition is especially bewildering when the innocent start-up is imeem or Lala (partly owned by Warner), InSound (owned wholly), or Last.fm (a CBS subsidiary). Who does anyone think anyone is fooling here? Let's not talk about Big Music vs. iTunes, either.

On the Internet we used to talk about what was happening "IRL", in real life. Then gradually we discovered that the Internet was becoming real life, and vice versa. To a great extent the Internet is no longer separate from our daily lives.

Similarly, it makes less and less sense to talk about "the music business" and "the internet music business" as separate things. It's all part of the same mess: a great swirling ocean of venality with little islands of grace.

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