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Wow. I'm feeling rather mischaracterized. Among other things, I'd proposed a kickstarter project to fund (not charity) any creative project the remaining members (or their family & friends, including the Professor) could put together, be it with unreleased audio, or a documentary etc. and we'd launch it with an AMA on +reddit. I'm sorry it was taken so poorly.

Please read my original statement:

Then Professor Taplin's reply:
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Not knowing the history of an artist or group is a minefield. The media industry is not particularly fond of paying artists reasonable royalties if they can get away with it. It is mind boggling that they can still cling to legitimacy in today's world where content can be shared so easily.

Sadly the "pay what you want" model isn't open to young artists or ones who've signed record deals.
I posted this in the comments section on the site, but I wanted to add this here as well:

"I think we are mixing problems here. The broken health care system and enormous costs of health care have nothing to do with the changes in the entertainment industry.

You are upset that Levon Helm had to work at age 70 to pay his medical bills. I am too. There are thousands of other people in the same situation as Levon who are not from the entertainment industry. I am upset about them as well.

The problem is not the changes in the industry, but the costs of health care."
I think Professor Taplin is a little short sighted on a few issues here (although I did not hear the whole debate and just read the article). Firstly, the lack of socialised medicine is a political and societal problem - look at how other western nations deal with this issue.

So Levon struggled to afford to pay medical bills - is this not of the making of his former employer, which may partially be a function of records sold, but is also a function of marketing costs and expenses to promote and to pay middle men. The kickstarter solution is not charity, but a method of empowerment by cutting out middle men and "working" directly for those that are willing to pay for the creative output of a talented person.

The "piracy" is what Neil Young refers to as the new radio. Obscurity is today's threat to income, not piracy.

Finally - it may be just me, but I think the Kim Dotcom's and the Pirate Bay are vastly different legal situations. One is clearly free speech, the other is of tenuous legality.
+Damien Donnelly What does medical bills or any other way that Levon wanted to spend the money? The point is the record label got rich off of their work and they saw practically nothing of it.

I am hopeful with things like Google Artists Hub, Lewis CK selling videos direct to consumers and making more at $5 than he saw going through big media, etc will see more direct connections between the content creators and consumer, cutting out the middle man who just seems intent on locking everything down to control their diminishing slice of the pie - disintermediation FTW.
I really enjoyed this debate as not only someone very invested in 'internet culture' as it forms but as a Music Business grad. I do have to side with +Alexis Ohanian's comments as the debate hopefully was about 'innovation' over blaming and finger pointing. Sadly, that's where this debate usually leads.

I think it boils down to Taplin and those who would support his opinion not truly understanding what they're trying to protect. Are they trying to protect the artist... or the record labels? Protecting older artists... or new artists? Most of the advance money given by major labels to new artists is spent on production of the album. Sure, the artist gets to keep the remainder but that's usually VERY little. With the exception of an elite few artists with pull, the artist MAY get a small cut of the record sales. The first rule of a new artist working with a label is to have production/pub. credits or you're getting screwed. Older artists were screwed from the get go with the deals the record companies gave them back then, recently spotlighted by the Lester Chambers story on reddit.

So... who is the OG criminal entity with advantage here? The record industry could get away with such things before the advent of internet distribution because they controlled the major channels. We now know the lines are blurring... the consumer has DIRECT power. And it is well documented that we (the consumer) can and will support monetarily and beyond the products and causes we want to. The longer folks like Taplin keep the blinders on and claim to protect artists by means of enforcing an outdated industry the more casualties we'll continue to have. Teach people to work within the new framework because it's NOT going away any time soon.
Yea...I don't expect their generation to see the big picture. Just like how our generation will probably frown upon double teleportation. It is sad what happened, but if everyone bought their albums back in the day, it would only make the record label richer, and they'd still be touring. RIP
I think it's more than just the music industry. As a society we have very little respect for celebrities. We want and want and want and many people do not give back, not just money, but even the respect human beings deserve (think of the way some are treated after a drug overdose or some other scandal).
+J. R. Nova I completely agree, it's gonna take a couple of generations until people realize that doing so, will not bring happiness nor will it fulfill anything. But I see exactly what you're describing every single day. People just want to consume and consume and consume.
+John Tamplin How he spent the money/ medical situation really has nothing to do with it. However when his argument is relying on this medical plight - it is worth mentioning he is mistaken there too.

"Last week at our debate, I talked about the essential unfairness that my friend and colleague Levon Helm had to continue to tour at the age of 70 with throat cancer in order to pay his medical bills. "

What he really should have said is, Levon Helm didn't make enough money from his talent because of piracy. He still wouldn't be correct, but it would be a better arguement.
Definitely mischaracterized. He's basically lumping you in what he sees as "Interenet people", the same people he thinks are out stealing content on The Pirate Bay. He clearly doesn't understand the new creative model that's growing around the Internet. It's easier to criticize progress than to try and understand it.

The ironic part is that music corporations could still thrive (even though I'd be fine if they all dry up) if they made one change to their overall strategy. I wrote an article on how I believe the music industry could save itself (and it has nothing to do with the Internet), which I will publish once I get my websites back up again.
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