Let’s look at other things you (or your parents) might pay for each month and compare.

  • Smart phone with data plan: $40-100 a month.
  • High speed internet access: $30-60 dollars a month. Wait, but you use the university network? Well, buried in your student fees or tuition you are being charged a fee on the upper end of that scale.
  • Tuition at American University, Washington DC (excluding fees, room and board and books): $2,086 a month.
  • Car insurance or Metro card? $100 a month?
  • Or simply look at the value of the web appliances you use to enjoy music: $2,139.50 = 1 smart phone 1 full size ipod 1 macbook. Why do you pay real money for this other stuff but not music?

The existential questions that your generation gets to answer are these:

Why do we value the network and hardware that delivers music but not the music itself?

Why are we willing to pay for computers, iPods, smartphones, data plans, and high speed internet access but not the music itself?

Why do we gladly give our money to some of the largest richest corporations in the world but not the companies and individuals who create and sell music?

This is a bit of hyperbole to emphasize the point. But it’s as if:

Networks: Giant mega corporations. Cool! have some money!

Hardware: Giant mega corporations. Cool! have some money!

Artists: 99.9 % lower middle class. Screw you, you greedy bastards!

Congratulations, your generation is the first generation in history to rebel by unsticking it to the man and instead sticking it to the weirdo freak musicians!

Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. | The Trichordist. Pretty close to an unanswerable argument. Thanks to @CaptDavidRyan for the link.

But of course the real answer is, “I don’t know how to steal computers and smartphones without risking getting caught and sent to jail. I don’t know how to steal internet access at all. So I pay for those things. But stealing music is easy, so I do that.”