from the fear-of-progress dept
Reader vegetaman points us to some comments made by Maynard James Keenan (best known as the singer for the band Tool) in an Oregon radio interview that suggest he’s reached the “get off my lawn” phase of his career. When asked about music piracy and its effect on the industry, he responded:
I think it’s a much bigger conversation. I think part of the problem with most of that is just the foundation of respect or entitlement. I think ‘entitlement’ is probably the better word. I think, just in general, our society has gotten to the point where just you click a button, you get what you want when you want it. So until we get to a point where we realize you don’t necessarily always get what you want when you want it, we’re gonna have a problem. So it stems from there. And then things like file-sharing and the Internet kind of lend themselves to that mindset. So, some day, hopefully, we’ll adjust that perspective … And until somebody has actually written a check to record their own record and see everything that goes into it, they don’t really understand that if you just take it… The current state of music, I’m sure there’s a lot of creative stuff going on out there, but there certainly isn’t—of course, I’m being nostalgic—but it doesn’t seem like there’s as much, creatively, going on, ’cause most people can’t afford to do it.”
Perhaps he chose “entitlement” over “respect” because he realized that “kids these days don’t have any respect” is a bit of a cliché, and not a positive one. But I’ve heard this “entitlement” complaint before too, and it still doesn’t make any sense. People aren’t so much entitled as they are accustomed, and that’s a natural result of progress. Sure, people (especially digital natives) get frustrated when they can’t find what they are looking for online, but how is that different from getting frustrated when you can’t find a gas station? It’s not some grand sense of technological entitlement, but rather the fact that we structure our lives around the tools that are available to us, and thus come to rely on them. On the internet, the simple fact is that you can get what you want at the click of a button, and people aren’t going to pretend that’s not true out of respect for those who predate the privilege. The real sense of entitlement is believing that you don’t have to grow and adapt to changing technology, and that you can refuse to give your customers what they have grown accustomed to (and can get elsewhere) and expect them to stick around.
Then there’s his perception that there is less creativity today, and at least he acknowledges that he’s being nostalgic, because he’s certainly not being accurate. The cost of creating, distributing and promoting music have all fallen drastically, allowing musicians to bypass gatekeepers and resulting in more music being made, and more financial opportunities for artists, than ever before. To claim that the cost of making music is limiting creativity is just weird (and not the good kind of weird like Tool’s album art). Keenan does have an affinity for expensive productions, but it’s a shame that he seems to think creative value is directly linked to budget.
Increasingly I feel like someone needs to sit all these aging musicians down and explain to them that the internet is pretty awesome, and it isn’t going away.
Filed Under: copyright, entitlement, maynard james keenan, piracy, tool