Perhaps we need to put together a list of musicians who actually understand the internet. We've written about the band Wilco and their willingness to embrace the internet before, but Wired News is now running an interview with front man Jeff Tweedy talking about how useful the internet is as a distribution mechanism and how badly the recording industry is missing the boat. "A piece of art is not a loaf of bread. When someone steals a loaf of bread from the store, that's it. The loaf of bread is gone. When someone downloads a piece of music, it's just data until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their mind, their subjective experience. How they perceive your work changes your work. Treating your audience like thieves is absurd. Anyone who chooses to listen to our music becomes a collaborator. People who look at music as commerce don't understand that. They are talking about pieces of plastic they want to sell, packages of intellectual property. I'm not interested in selling pieces of plastic." There is also the next step, though, of realizing that as music is freed up, it becomes an input that can be used for other commercial opportunities, opening up possibilities for other areas of commerce. The trick is to stop thinking about music as an end-product to be sold, and focus more on how it can be a larger part of something else (a different product, a social experience, etc.).
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