Dave Allen: Musicians such as Byrne and Thom Yorke can’t blame the internet for their problems. We need to work with new markets, not reject them.
"What we have here are two bold statements from two bold-faced musicians who want to save musicians and a so-called dying music industry and yet, for all their best intentions, I believe they are doing music and musicians a disservice. And of course, as the articles are shared far and wide across the apparently much-hated web, they become gospel to those who read them and unfortunately become quasi-religious texts to musicians of all stripes who blame the internet for everything that is wrong with their careers.
Here’s my take on it, which I will try to make as succinct as possible. The internet and Spotify (or any other streaming music service for that matter) are not to blame for musicians’ problems. It is hard for me to understand why intelligent people like David Byrne and Thom Yorke do not appear to understand that we are in the midst of new markets being formed. I would also add that many journalists and media commentators don’t understand this phenomenon either. It is not about technology; it’s about systems and societal shifts. It’s also about music business bubbles.
I have been wrong in my thinking about Spotify in the past. After much debate and a reappraisal of my own stance, I have concluded that we can only look to what internet and mobile users are doing or want to do, and then note how their actions drive technologists to provide platforms for them. Put very simply, that is how markets work.”