24 Tweets About Digital Music.

Over the last few days, a lot of people have been talking about the arrival of Spotify in the US. I blogged a LOT about Spotify when it first arrived – and many of the same “it’s the future of music!/it’s the end of civilization as we know it!” conversations are happening now. So I posted a handful of tweets about it, which people liked, so I gathered them together into a single page with ExquisiteTweets.com.

Now I’m tidying them up here (fixing the wayward numbering in the process), and will maybe expand on them a little as time goes on. I’ve left the original links in place in case you want to retweet any of the tweets on Twitter…


  • Couple of thoughts on legal vs moral/ethical WRT to the current music landscape.
    1) Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it useful.
    9:00pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 2) It’s quite possible to do things that are very much pro-music but technically wholly illegal under current copyright law.
    9:00pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 3) It’s ‘legal’ for a record label to spend your money for you without telling you, pay themselves with it, then hold your art to randsom…
    9:01pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 4) You are free to pay for anything you’ve torrented. If in doubt, ask the artist. If you’re scared to ask the artist, question yourself.
    9:02pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 5) Whether Spotify is legal or not is moot. It is what it is. No-one is ever going to make enough to ‘fund’ their art/life from it…
    9:02pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 6) If that doesn’t bother you, you have nothing to worry about for now. If it does, you are a grown up, be the change you want to see.
    9:03pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 7) When Lady Gaga was reported to have made pennies from spotify, she had sold 20 MILLION downloads. These are not unconnected.
    9:05pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 8 ) Spotify isn’t the future of music. Music is the future of music. Rock stardom is a smile on a dog.
    9:07pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 9) By far the worst enemies of musicians making music are the RIAA/BPI – trade bodies that couldn’t give a flying fuck about art or artists
    9:08pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 10) Torrenting is not a ‘moral act’. It’s not sticking it to the man. You get music. That’s it. If you’re grateful for it, say thank you.
    9:09pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 11) There are many ways to express gratitude. Paying for someone’s art is as good as any. As is sharing it around. Get excited about art.
    9:10pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 12) Making a living as a musician has never been easy. The last 50 years of music press has been a giant smoke screen. A billion tons of bullshit
    9:11pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 13) The reality of being a musician is way more interesting on Twitter than it is in the NME. Offer some encouragement to the minstrels.
    9:12pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 14) Art makes your life better. Bad art eats away at the soul. Bad art is easy to sell than good art. Feed your soul.
    9:13pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 15) It’s unfashionable to give a shit about people. What are you, 12? Screw fashion. Build karma. Ignore nonsense about copyright legality.
    9:16pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 16) DEAct or no DEAct music isn’t going back behind a firewall. You’re a grown up. Do what is right, not just what you can get away with.
    9:17pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 17) Downloading music isn’t “stealing” nor is it equivalent to forcing someone to fix your heating. Ignore pretty much everything Lars Ulrich ever says
    9:19pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 18 ) …But neither is torrenting ‘helpful’. It’s neutral, at best. For me, until you come and say hi, you don’t exist, neither do the MP3s.
    9:22pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 19) I’m very grateful to anyone who bothers to listen to me. Even more so if they buy it/share it. Telling your friends is the new advertising
    9:23pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 20) There are no ‘entitlements’ here. I don’t have a ‘right’ to make a living from music, and you don’t have a ‘right’ to hear it.
    9:24pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 21) Art is a gift. A gift to the artist and a gift to those who experience it. Treat is as such, do what you can to make the art flourish.
    9:25pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 22) Here endeth the rant. Namaste. 😉
    9:25pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 23) If you’re new here thanks to the rant (lots o’ new followers.. yay!) here’s what I akchuamully sound like – http://bit.ly/jeA1pS 🙂
    9:43pm Jul 14th 2011
  • 24) BTW, there’s no such thing as ‘The Music Industry’. There are many music industries. Many of them are not in the same business as me…
    10:00pm Jul 14th 2011


…as an addendum to the story, the original ExquisiteTweets list was retweeted a LOT of times, largely thanks to Emily Goodhand (AKA @copyrightgirl) tweeting it, and her tweet being retweeted by Graham Linehan (AKA @glinner ) – which resulted in not only a whole lot of web-traffic, but also a large number of people firstly going to my site and listening to the music (bandcamp gives you stats on how much of each song listeners are playing, and that ‘engagement’ statistic is currently the highest it’s ever been) and then, in the case of a few of them, buying the downloads. So that’s people going from ‘no knowledge’ of who I am, to reading some tweets, to listening, to buying in the space of just a few minutes. Wonderful, heartening stuff.

6 Replies to “24 Tweets About Digital Music.”

  1. agree more than i disagree. but streaming model represented by spotify could be future of music industry. i doubt it but its possible and no reason it couldnt in the future generate similar or better artist income to the old major label sales and radio play model (Work out whats paid per listener on radio for comparison or how much an artist gets on average per play of an album i buy in the supermarket for a fiver and then play daily) spotify dont seem to be doing well selling adds or targetting them but we are just coming out of recession may take time. morals of torrenting? hmmm think you can make a moral case for torrenting anything on a major label! post a handfull of coppers to the artist as their lost share of the income maybe 🙂 then spend money saved on bandcamp!

    1. It will no doubt be part of the foreseeable future for those music industries that fit its model. Music will exist in myriad places and forms as long as there are people to play it. How we get it is less important than how we form relationships with it, around it and because of it… Spotify still relies on a resilience of web connection that most big music fans don’t have or aren’t willing to pay for. It’s a fabulous tool for people who previously listened to the radio but were annoyed by the talking… And can be a great discovery medium.

      Does anyone know if Spotify are still losing money hand-over-fist? They were for a while…

      There’s a case to be made for torrenting, but the notion of ‘morality’ is a tough one to apply, given that it almost inevitably leads to talk of ‘rights’. Perhaps there’s a moral equivalence that justifies it? I’ve certainly torrented a lot of music over the years – most of it replacing my vinyl collection, so using it as an alternative to buying a USB turntable…

  2. Great thoughts here regarding digital music. I expected a screaming fest on how downloading is stealing. I ended up raising my eyebrows and walking away with some deeper statements.

    1. Oh, heck no. 🙂 Steve is one of the most progressive thinkers in this whole area. A large part of his credibility is the fact that not only does he practice what he preaches, he makes a living at it.

      I’m working on my first album now, and I’ve already decided I’m going to package it up in such a way as to encourage sharing as far and as wide as possible. Piracy is not the enemy. Obscurity is.

  3. Hi Steve,

    As one of the many Yanks excited just to try out Spotify and see if I liked it, I immediately paid the $10, tried it and was almost just as immediately dissapointed. I don’t think it has much to do with overt expectations, but I was expecting the following:

    -Read my current music library, match up what I already own for streaming (especially on my phone). Spotify didn’t do this.
    -Organize myself in what i see as logical: by Artist, then Album then track order. The mobile app organizes by SONG only. Why it won’t do anything else is beyond me.
    -I am interested in these services because I have run out of space on my 32GB phone SD Card, and am tired of dragging/dropping of any type of organizing. I just want my music (for the most part) in one damn place to access it. The first thing Spotify does is start transferring a bunch of music to my SD Card. All I want is streaming, and I’ll select what goes to my SD Card thank you very much. Auto-transfer is nice, but I want the option to manually select.
    -Spotify seems very song oriented vs album oriented. That’s fine for some, but I’m more of an album person.
    -No web player. Kinda lame
    -There are possibly solutions to all of the above complaints, but the service I use (RDio) already does everything I want the way I want it. Why should I bother figuring out Spotify?

    I do really like the social sharing stuff Spotify has, it is above the rest simply because Spotify has a free version so you can share with everyone. However, since Spotify has a free version, I’ll pay for RDio and use the free version of Spotify on the occasion I want to share.

    So my solution: Use RDio as a streaming source for most of my stuff (its great for finding new music) and use Google Music when I want to listen to the Beatles, Steve Lawson or anyone else not on RDio 🙂

    My main complaint is mostly knowing/assuming that most of RDio’s commissions to labels likely never make it to the artist. And I hate paying major record labels. Steve you would probably know more on that.

    I have unlimited data on my smartphone, so I will admit data caps are not a worry for me.

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