I've been constructing this post in my head for several months now - longer than I've been blogging actually. Reading The Long Tail - and recent experience of our music being shared across the blogosphere - has helped me to finally come to some sort of position.
People always ask me how I feel about the apparent death of the music industry and people downloading music for free. I've always had the same response - copyright needs to be respected. And I still firmly believe that.
I have a friend named Duncan who is constantly making mix CDs for his friends. Every time you see Duncs, he is sure to have some new tunes to share by some esoteric artist that he has plucked from the net. He is a true maven - getting delight from sharing his discoveries. The same goes for bloggers like Mark and Raj. What these guys have in common is their respect and love for the music they shout about.
That support and acknowledgment of respect - to me - is worth so much more than the loss of 37p net revenue for an iTunes download. I think most artists who battle constantly to get their music heard would agree with this.
The internet has changed consumption. It is now easier to get what we want, when we want it. Instant gratification. Without mavens in this world of infinite choice, most people wouldn't be exposed to all the fantastic music that is being made that might be considered niche or leftfield. Sharing has always been part of the culture of alternative music - technology has now just made that more of a global possibility, and I find that quite exciting.
In a fitting post script, I've heard Muxtape has been shut down ...
Image by beta product on Flickr