Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Turning radio into Velveeta

The singer Janis Ian explains why sharing music over the Internet can be seen as a "High-Tech Lifeline for Musicians" in a February 2 L.A. Times opinion column. (Rats, you have to register as an online L.A. Times reader to see it.)

She raises a point that I have often thought about myself. If you don't like the Britneys and Shakiras of radio you need to go looking for the music that you like, or might be willing to try, and the Internet can be a big help towards making this search easier. Most radio stations won't broadcast a variety of music to find out what listeners might like to listen to. Indeed, when you look at it from a business sense, you can't really expect them to. The lowest common denominator rules.

However, I am mindful of property rights, being a writer and all. Yet, I believe that a balance should be struck so that the Internet can be used to maximize a creator's audience (increasing what they earn), without cutting it off entirely by insisting that everything must be paid for.

What that balance is, I am not sure. Perhaps some of my readers have some thoughts on that subject.

(Also, which is the lesser of two evils to see something "free" online.... 1) Having to brave and close pop-ups or 2) Having to register and give demographic info to access the website.)