Music Industry Crap Wants to Be Free

The Atlantic's Megan McArdle has a point:

When the printing press was invented, many monks mourned the decline of vellum and the loss of the illuminator’s art. They were right, of course—but they were even more wrong. Maybe something better is coming, even as the transition racks the nerves of writers and artists. As the old joke goes, we may be losing something on every unit—but perhaps we’ll make it up in volume.

Except that's her last paragraph, not her lead. What precedes it is an annoying rant about 20-something "freeloaders" destroying what she calls the music industry. Apparently no one told her the music industry gave us Britney Spears and snorted the rest of the profits up its nose.

Disquiet has a sensible response to McArdle: "Vinyl LP or MP3, McArdle sees music as something sold as a fixed cultural object. Little context is given in the article for music licensing as a revenue stream. No consideration is given to sales of music gear, including instruments and software, nor to the growing realm of music-related experience in which the role between audience and performer is blurred through interactivity. Despite which absence from the article, that is all part of the music industry."

In fairness to McArdle, she does raise the possibility that music could be something other than the overpriced CDs the suits ripped us off for for 20 years. In a tossed off comment in the very last paragraph of her article. The radical transition of the masses from advertising-blitzed consumers to famous-for-fifteen-people-but-that's-cool producers is apparently happening beneath McArdle's radar, while she complains about the demise of the past's evil model.