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To Sum Up

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In case he doesn’t expand this into a post, I think djw’s comment on the selling out thread deserves highlighting as similar to my final thoughts on the matter:

Jay B. wins the thread. It’s like this: capitalism does an awful lot of harm, and an awful lot of good. I’m going to lament those parts of capitalism that do real, serious harm to actual people. Helping artists make a living, while possibly harming a few of their sensitive middle class fan’s ability to aesthetically experience music on their own precise, demanding, and fairly incoherent terms, doesn’t really concern me in the slightest. My response to the line of reasoning Greg and others are pursuing here is akin to my response to those who complain bitterly about successful athletes drawing large salaries. I’m utterly baffled by it, and at a loss as to how to respond. In both cases it strikes me as a bizzare projection of purity (in it for the music/joy of the game) onto people you don’t know.

I think this is about right. The analogy with complaining about the salaries of athletes is in may ways apt, and indeed that the fact that so many people oppose players in labor disputes is indeed even more indefensible (context does alter the way we hear music, although I don’t understand the emphasis people place on its commercial use per se.) It’s not like the money paid to professional athletes would instead go to teachers or cancer researchers or sick kittens or something; the only question is whether the owners or the players keep it. People who romanticize the days in which players were paid at vastly below-market rates as a time when “things were a sport, not a business” or whatever are insane, and the sportswriters who reliably line up behind the owners in labor disputes are generally economic illiterates who fail to understand the basic underlying issues.

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