Swizz Beatz: Technology Brings Freedom To Musicians; Those Not Embracing It Are Greedy

from the nicely-said dept

Swizz Beatz, one of the most well-known, well-respected music producers around -- who was very briefly listed as the CEO of Megaupload right before it was shut down by the US government -- was just interviewed on MTV about Megaupload, technology, file sharing and music and made a bunch of good points. When asked why the industry has been so slow to adopt what technology enables, and specifically about file sharing, which the interviewer notes is "so important in hip hop," he sums it up simply: it's all about greed by the labels.
I think the only reason why people wouldn't embrace technology is because of greed. And because of the old way of doing business, which is also greed. And then you have people running the business -- no disrespect -- that's 80 years plus. They don't even know how to operate an iPad, and they're making decisions on the younger generation's future.

And my association with forward thinking technology is very deep. And it came up a little bit with Megaupload -- which still, today, is a big misunderstanding of technology. And the day that you mix the old business with the new technology, we'll have a better place. It's actually going to be a time when artists can come out and do 10 million records their first week. Because the technology is going to be so locked in tight globally. You have billions of people, all over the world. Why can't artists that everybody likes do 10 million a week? It's just that the communication and the technology and the old way of doing business is off. But once that catches up, which is going to happen in the next three years, it's going to be amazing.

And the cool thing is that technology equals freedom for the artist. And that's the best thing that could ever happen for artists that work hard and that really want to get their career off the ground.
He's then asked a bit about "piracy" and actually getting people to buy, and he notes that if you make good music, people will support you. He says the problem is that people have gotten away from making good music. But when there is good music, people want to support "great music." He notes that people have no problem paying for those "timeless pieces," because they know they're supporting the artists. It's just that when musicians today are "bluffing," the public knows it, and isn't so interested in supporting it.

It's a good interview, and it's good to see more people -- especially in the hip hop world -- speaking out about this, rather than merely accepting the lines from the 80 year old execs at the music labels.

Update: Apparently, Swizz is feeling talkative these days. He also did a nice longer interview on a radio show where he talks a bit more about all of this, again saying that the Megaupload situation was a misunderstanding -- and talked about how he had figured out a way for musicians to make "wow money" but it won't happen now because of the "miscommunication" that has the US government making it look like they were breaking the law.

Filed Under: file sharing, greed, piracy, swizz beatz
Companies: megaupload

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  1. icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), 4 May 2012 @ 12:53am

    Comment madness

    It looks like the comments on this one just went in all different directions.

    One moron has his knickers in a bunch about 80 year old record execs. It was stated that that was hyperbole in a quote. The argument was basically "but..but.. that's not a fact." Ok, no it's not a fact, but the fact is that there are a lot of older record execs out there that do not understand technology or do not want to accept that it has changed the marketplace. Hope that clears it up.

    Next up is the debate about new business models and piracy as a social behavior, which is essentially the same argument. Many of us are just stating the same thing in different ways. The facts are that file sharing music is down, digital sales are up, CD sales are relatively dismal, and social behavior is consistent.

    The major labels still control the broadcast mediums for now and that is a HUGE advantage to them which they should continue to leverage and they even have a strong foothold on the web with VEVO (whether we like it or not). New tech is giving indies new opportunities, but it's still tough and that's just the market and it will shift toward the best perceived service/product. So the indies can stop whining about radio play and exposure and the majors can stop whining about everything else since they still have the most control of exposure.

    Next up is the insane debate about losses. Does piracy cause losses? Yes, absolutely. Are those losses as horrific as the industry believes? In some aspects, yes. The CD market has been decimated, but is that due to piracy, no. The format of choice changed from CDs to mp3s and the industry spent far too long trying to hold on to physical sales instead of shifting with the tech. From the industry side, the expectation was that the consumer would continue to buy the CDs and convert them to mp3s. In other words, they simply had no experience with the nascent digital marketplace and just kinda hoped it would work like the old analog market. Bad bet.

    The elephant in the room is the convergence of the communications platform with the distribution network. Copyright law may be draconian, but no one really complained much before, because it was designed to work with physical copies, since that was all we had when the laws we initially written. So now we have a set of laws that is being used by companies to attack the technological evolution of the marketplace. Sorry, but there is no middle ground that will be acceptable to those who want their monopoly to be protected.

    The content industry really needs to learn it's place. You are not owed our money. How do you recoup your losses? Guess what? We don't care because we are not running your buisness, that's your issue. Instead of asking the government for more laws, ask for a bailout.

    If the major record labels and movie studios and publishing houses all ceased to exist tomorrow, musicians would keep making music, movies would keep being made, and authors would keep writing books and CUSTOMERS would keep BUYING what they like, oh and piracy would keep happening. So the loss of culture argument is false. As for the money, it would be redistributed in a crazy way, since there would be no gatekeeper to skim off the gross, but still no loss the the economy. No loss to the economy???? How dare I say that??? We are talking about entertainment!!!! That money is DISPOSABLE income, it's money that isn't being saved and is circulating in the economy. If it's not spent on entertainment it goes somewhere else in the economy and other businesses thrive and hire.

    Troll that!

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