You cannot devalue music.

I agree with Quirk’s statements 100%. I feel like anyone interested in being involved in the “music industry” needs to get on this level, otherwise you’re just chasing your own tail.

When I hear people complain about discount pricing in online stores or fret about on-demand services such as Rhapsody and Spotify, I rebut them with another rule of mine that makes me sound like a hippie but I promise I’m not:

Music is priceless.

I mean that literally and I believe that even more than I believe old people should shut up about how much better things were in our day. Here’s why. The same song will always be worth different things to different people at different times. The online music revolution hasn’t changed that. It’s simply made the fact glaringly obvious.

You can sketch this dynamic with a simple pyramid showing lots of people spending little or no money at the bottom and fewer people spending lots of money at the top. If you’re a new band, you begin at the bottom of that pyramid, but no matter how popular a given artist gets or how amazing her latest single is, there will always, always, always be more people in the world who don’t care than who do.

So the goal for every artist and every song has always been to climb this pyramid, convincing as many people as you can to part with something in exchange for listening. At first, you just want their attention. The next step is to get them to give you some money for the privilege of hearing your song whenever they happen to get the urge and as you keep climbing the pyramid, you find yourself with fewer and fewer listeners but each one who remains is happy to give you more and more money.

Read Tim Quirk’s full speech and Q&A

Daniel Tuttle


I run Bottle Imp, an independent record label. I am also a photographer, a web developer and I raise chickens. More Music:
Good morning - 2 days ago

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