Jaron Lanier Says That Musicians Using Free To Succeed Are Lying
from the wow dept
Jaron Lanier came out with his book recently, and it’s still getting a bunch of publicity, despite getting some rather basic facts wrong. But, even so, I was shocked to hear that he recently stood up at a conference and claimed that musicians who say they are using “free” music to their advantage are lying:
“Every single example of these musicians who did really well by giving stuff away… they don’t exist,” Lanier says. “There are a lot of people who pretend … and it is fake.”
What a bizarre statement, considering just how many real life examples we see every day of musicians successfully embracing an understanding of basic economics (which Lanier apparently lacks). I was trying to better understand how Lanier could make such an easily debunked statement with a straight face, and it’s not clear at all. It appears that Lanier is the one who is pretending here. The only explanation I can find for his bizarre claim is the wiggle room he leaves for himself later in his talk:
Lanier adds that artists making a career off music in the digital age are still having success thanks to the traditional models. “Anyone who is making it now is making it off the little shreds of the old system that is still working,” he says.
So, basically, he will try to turn any of the many success stories we regularly talk about into a story about how they’re still using “the old system.” We’ve seen this before, and it makes no sense. It’s the last gasp argument of someone who’s been proven wrong. They’ll argue that because someone makes any use at all of the old infrastructure or the old system, every bit of their success is due to that. It’s wrong on many different levels.
Furthermore, when Lanier talks about “the little shreds of the old system that is still working,” I’m wondering what he’s referring to — given that countless studies are showing that the music business has continued to grow. So, if there’s anyone “pretending” here, it seems like it’s Lanier.