The Cure frontman Robert Smith has taken to the Internet to slam the idea of musicians making songs available for free—and he is very sure of how he feels.
The notion in question—that artists should make their material available for free and subsist on licensing, merchandise, and performances—isn’t so outlandish in a world where nobody pays for music anyway. But Smith contends that this proposal undermines artistic merit:
WHAT I AM ESSENTIALLY SAYING IS THIS:
WHATEVER ‘BRIGHT NEW WORLD’ I AM EXPECTED TO ENJOY
ONE IN WHICH SONGWRITERS/MUSICIANS ARE OBLIGED TO MAKE THEIR MUSIC AVAILABLE FOR FREE
IS ONE THAT IS TOTALLY UNFAIR
AND THAT WELL ESTABLISHED AND SUCCESSFUL (IE WELL OFF!) ARTISTS
WHO DO THIS BECAUSE THEY CAN AFFORD TO DO IT
ARE HELPING TO CREATE AND SUSTAIN A CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT OF EXPECTATION:
THE EXPECTATION THAT ALL MUSIC SHOULD BE ‘FREE’
IT IS A DISMAL POSITION
Okay, so he has a point, but the caps just make it feel like he’s yelling. Then again, maybe it’s our fault for actually being surprised that Robert Smith is upset about something.