An apology to David Lowery

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A few days ago, our digital strategist, Dave Allen, posted opinions about the role of the Internet as a catalyst for change in the turbulent music business. It was in response to a popular piece posted by David Lowery on his blog, which in turn was a response to a post by Emily White, an intern at NPR.

We fully support Dave’s positions regarding the Internet and the music business. We find no reason to fault Emily White and her generation for an inevitable business truth about the way music (and many other forms of creativity) are now enjoyed.

Dave is passionate about the issues, as we are. As a result, his post included some personal opinions about David Lowery that were less than kind. For that, we sincerely apologize and regret the distraction.


  • Dave Allen

    David, you make some great points which I will address as soon as I’m able to..


  • David Toreid

    “We find no reason to fault Emily White and her generation for an inevitable business truth about the way music (and many other forms of creativity) are now enjoyed.”

    It is always wise to look at where any comments and opinions are coming from. None of us live in a vacuum where we can form totally objective opinions. Being a musician and working with small/independent labels, I naturally tend to see things from a musician’s viewpoint, including the need for budgets for new productions.

    Dave Allen is a digital strategist in an advertising agency. That means, I assume, that his job is to assist commercial companies in their efforts to earn money, to advise them how to best profit from the Internet. And as he and everyone else knows, the less you pay the creator, the more profit the middle men make. And if you can convince the world that music and films and books should be more or less free (except for the cost of bringing it to the consumer and the cost of iPods etc), you have really struck gold.

    It is quite clear that legal and illegal distributors have taken over all the “bad” aspects of the old record company regime. Nothing is new, just the technology.

    But I am an optimist. Sooner or later people will realize that a lawless Internet is an ultra-capitalist’s wet dream, and then regulations will be introduced, like in any other field of society. Because the net is only cables and microchips, it is run by exactly the same people and morals or lack thereof as the real world (us!) and needs the same regulation.

    The first phase has already happened: The very powerful and wealthy Pirate mafia (Pirate Bay, Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload etc.) are brought down by the legal systems, and no sane 14 or 40 year old today can claim that piracy is OK, fair or socially acceptable.

    So now one struggle remains – to get fair compensation from the middle men (Spotify and their co-owners Warner/EMI/Sony/Universal and their telecom affiliates etc. As always, this is a David vs. Goliath situation, but I guess it’s worth the fight. Also this time.

  • josh

    Bickering aside I appreciate a good melee. I think we are just scratching the surface of what is possible in terms of creating value for artists’ works. I think the futility of trying to solve the artist vs industry problem is the exciting part. Throw out every conceptual model you have about how it should work.

    Ok, i’m not here to outline a vision of how it should be. My point is that we’re living in a time where imagination is not just a feel good buzz word. Its where the currency lives.

  • Roy Christopher

    What the world needs now… As Mark points out above, Dave Allen is quite passionate about this stuff. In our many disagreements, he’s said much, much worse about me (online and off-) — and he’s one of my best friends!

    Fortunately, I agree with him here… Mostly.

  • Joe Wallace

    I have to agree w/Alex–I personally take exception with Lowery’s assertion that “free culture” was responsible for the deaths of Mark Linkous or Vic Chestnutt, which is a grotesque oversimplification of a complex issue. Lowery has a (small) point about Linkous living in poverty and being unable to afford much-needed treatment, but Emily White–or anyone else’s–musical purchase decision making processes have NOTHING TO DO with that circumstance per se. An aggravating factor? Certainly. But let’s get real here.

    I’ve always enjoyed Cracker, but Lowery is out of his tree here, a bit out of line, and comes off as fairly condescending toward White–especially when he’s making noises to the contrary.

    Personally, I was bummed out to read that “the guy from Cracker” was coming on so strong about any/all of this…but by the same token, I have to give Lowery SOME slack as it’s likely a personal reaction to some understandably unresolved issues connected to the deaths of two people he knows in the business…so in that context, I’m happy to let him rant on–but please back off Emily White, Mr. Lowery and recognize that your real concern lies elsewhere.

    DISCLAIMER: this little screen was blurted out after a bit of The Old Speckled Hen and isn’t neccesarily coherent, intelligent, or even interesting.

  • Alex

    The personal opinions about Lowery, while being a bit strong, should not detract from the fact that Allen is correct. The industry never served artists, and the upsides after the paradigm shift far outweigh the downsides. So many people are complaining about something that can’t be fixed at this point. The industry was given many chances to swim with the incoming tide but they chose to fight it, it’s too late to do anything about it now, and now they are drowning.
    It’s time to accept and adapt.
    Those who already have are doing fine.