The music “industry” – should songs or poetry be looked at merely as a product?

The artists in the story were very concerned about the fact that others are stealing their money by pirating their songs – and rightly so. Since as a rule copyright applies to all creative work – and noone has the right to copy it without the artists’ permission.

But the question remains – is it right for the artists to look at their profession as a job – is it right to call their songs “products” – a once-off thing sold to the audience.

In today’s consumer society once-off products are sold – once consumed – they end up in the bin – noone reuses them – but rather – buy new products and consume them. The products once in the bin – are considered “waste”. When it comes to music – can one ever look at a song as “waste” – never to be reused again?

If one looks at folk culture – stories and songs go from person to person freely – noone really knows who was the original author – the stories, poems, songs were part of culture and were not part of a “consumer culture”. If one looks at jazz music – it is based on the constant “reusing” of melodies and rhytms – just like – anything else in our society since nothing exists in a vacuum.

This way of thinking results in artists and audiences separated – no little concern for each other – so not surprising that artists talk about people that listen to their music as pirates and the audience – so far removed from the artists – are not concerned any more about the well-being of the artists. Should all those people that listen to the music be called pirates – or is there another way to make sure that the music gets to its audience without calling them pirates?

While it is highly unfair to take and resell music without the artists’ permission – are the artists sure that they themselves have created a culture where there are legal mechanisms in place to share and reuse their own music ( which they also compiled based on previous influences from other artists ).

Another important point is that an artists’ responsibility is not merely providing and selling a product but also highlighting issues in their societies and making their audiences aware of problems.

These are some of the questions open source communities / open content initiatives all around the world try to address and make sure that authors like artists, musicians, poets, writers are acknowledged – and in the same time the audience has legal tools to reuse materials and provide very valuable feedback about all published materials. The audience then also has the option to become artists/creators themselves – just like in folk culture where absolutely everyone has the right to sing a song and change it they way he/she likes to sing it.

Creative Commons (www.creativecommons.org) offers authors various open licenses that they can use should they wish to make sure that their creative work is later reused, modified or even resold.

The question is : if pirating of a certain material (like software or music or any other product ) becomes the norm – shouldn’t the “industry” or the authors rethink the basic rules of music/software production or should they carry on the same way.