My Response to Arrington’s Post About “Those Crazy Musicians”

Posted on March 25, 2008
Filed Under Valley Drama |

Michael Arrington’s post in response to British musician Billy Bragg’s op-ed piece in the New York Times struck a nerve with many.

Nick Carr called Arrington’s comment that “Recorded music is nothing but marketing material to drive awareness of an artist” the “saddest, stupidest sentence I’ve ever read,” and while I won’t go that far, it does rank up there with the dumbest comments I’ve read on a Web 2.0 blog. No small feat given that some pretty damn stupid things have been said on Web 2.0 blogs.

Given that one of my readers had already requested I post my thoughts on the music business in the Internet era, I figured it was time to do so. .

Beyond the logical arguments that can be made against the flawed thinking demonstrated by people like Arrington, who seems to have no respect for intellectual property rights when it comes to music, I do not discount the idea that there are other dynamics at play.

In his discussion of Bragg’s op-ed piece, Nick Carr points out:

Exploitation is exploitation, no matter how lovingly it’s wrapped in neo-hippie technobabble about virtual communities, social production, and the gift economy.

“Neo-hippie” may be one of the most apt descriptions of the Web 2.0 “creed.” But Carr is correct in pointing out that the “neo-hippie technobabble” really is nothing more than a cover for wannabe media moguls who hate people like Rupert Murdoch but clearly wouldn’t mind taking his place.

Referring to the Web 2.0 community, “bill” commented:

You’re still just as greedy as you claim Doug Morris and Edgar Bronfman are, you just hide behind the popular mantra that music should be free.

But is it all about money and greed? I’ve always found it suspicious that Silicon Valley types seem to focus more on how much money record labels and newspapers have lost due to the supposed erosion of their old business models than they seem to focus on how the Internet companies supposedly causing the losses usually aren’t making any real money of their own.

So if it isn’t entirely money, what drives the hate kool aid drinkers have for record labels, newspapers and television networks? Why does Michael Arrington relish attacking the record labels and arguing that Silicon Valley is going to take over Hollywood?

Could it be jealousy? Is Silicon Valley merely a cesspool of player haters?

It’s not so far-fetched. After all, there’s something distinctly awkward about well-educated, bourgeois “entrepreneurs” who live in places like Atherton driving around in their Porsches espousing Marxist ideals while proclaiming that they’re trying to help the average consumer get out from under the control of evil old men. It’s all just too much to believe, especially when many of their most successful companies derive a non-negligible portion of their fortunes from intellectual property rights.

If that’s not enough, put yourself in their shoes. Imagine how much frustration you’d have if you were a well-educated, bourgeois “entrepreneur” living in Atherton driving around in your Porsche and at every party you attend there are ten other well-educated, bourgeois “entrepreneurs” from Atherton who own Porsches for every one female. And imagine how much that frustration would increase if the only girls who attract attention when they arrive - - probably aren’t getting into Skybar on a busy Saturday night (unless of course they’re staying at the Mondrian to get guaranteed entry).

In other words, imagine rising to the top of Silicon Valley only to discover that “like Studio 54, except without the glamour, drugs, music, dancing, excitement, notoriety, stars and hot chicks.” And that despite the fact that you live in Atherton, drive a Porsche, were one of the first 500 employees at Google, just raised $5 million for your TechCrunch-reviewed startup and thousands of people subscribe to your Twitter feed and tens of thousands of people subscribe to your blog, a ninth-grade dropout music producer who has more fans and has pulled hotter women than you ever will. And even worse: he didn’t have to sacrifice his lifestyle to make a $70+ million fortune.

The injustice! Even if you don’t want to live like Scott Storch, if all that isn’t enough to create a player hating environment in a region already filled with big egos and penile insecurity, I don’t know what is.

My advice to Web 2.0 “entrepreneurs” who want to destroy and reinvent the media industry: get your own businesses in line and focus on making your first cent of profit before you get too ambitious. After all, it’s hard to take over the role of Goliath when you’re still sucking on a VC teat.

Disclaimer: According to the player haters in Silicon Valley, the above is free promotion for The Luniz and I am doing them a favor by embedding this music video from YouTube.

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4 Responses to “My Response to Arrington’s Post About “Those Crazy Musicians””

  1. Mr. Crash on March 25th, 2008 10:56 am

    Michael Arrington seems to enjoy devaluing the otherwise worthwhile works of others.

    He also seems to enjoy pumping facebook.

    Neither of these activities seem to make particular sense to me - but they do reek of insecurity and narcissism.

  2. Morgan on March 25th, 2008 2:04 pm

    The disrespect for IP and copyright just bugs me, they think that because they think there’s a ‘better’ model, or that music is too expensive, they can just steal and distribute it. It never occurs to them that if they don’t like a voluntary transaction, just DON’T BUY IT?

    I am working on an better version of TC to see if he feels the same way about his own IP. The writing still sucks, but it loads about 100x faster. I just don’t have time to deal with the C&D I’ll get. Yet.

  3. jro on March 25th, 2008 4:04 pm

    “for wannabe media moguls who hate people like Rupert Murdoch but clearly wouldn’t mind taking his place.”

    Bingo, nail on the head, etc.

    Speaking of nails, I think that’s what the valley has become. A place where problems go to be addressed, in the hammer/nail approach: internet=hammer, everything=nail.

  4. Serial Killings Haunt Web 2.0 : The Drama 2.0 Show on April 3rd, 2008 10:53 am

    […] no harm done in letting big media player haters make asinine comments about the death of industries that are still making billions of dollars. And […]

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