One for Friday: A Digression

Usually this electronic space is devoted to sharing individual songs every Friday (as opposed to the weekly diversion at the site that otherwise mirrors this one). Several months ago, I shared an offering from the band that was one of the signature artists of my college radio station during the years that I was there as a student, a band called Too Much Joy.

This past week, the band’s lead singer, Tim Quirk, posted a royalty statement from Warner Brothers that he’d fought long and hard to get. The statement details the amount the band has earned from sales of downloads of their songs, presented as the fairly meager sum of $62.47. The issue with this is that Quirk works for Rhapsody, and has a better-than-average idea of how much money the band should have earned. He deconstructs the disingenuous nature of the record company executives, and, with even greater insight, their complete lack of interest in dealing with their artists directly, transparently and honestly.

Sometimes I feel a little guilty about posting these weekly MP3s, especially if the songs are available for purchase through iTunes or some other download service. Then I remember that record companies have spent decades doing their best to keep revenue from making its way to the people who actually create the music that means so much to me and other devoted fans and listeners, and that the money I have put into the system over the years, purchasing records, cassettes, CDs and even downloadable music, has perpetuated that system as much as it has supported the artists. Then I feel a little less guilty. And I also feel like I should mail Tim Quirk a dollar.