“Been working for nine months on something that will sell for 3.99 on Amazon MP3. That’s about the price of a whoopie cushion” – Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes
Wow, what a whining baby, Robin Pecknold should get over himself. The same goes for that Sufjan Stevens guy who complains that his albums shouldn’t be priced the same as a Starbucks latte. Where do these musicians get off criticizing lower priced albums? We live in a digital age now and anything can be found online and downloaded. You can even find super top secret government files on Wikileaks for free nowadays.
Musicians are babies. They work hard at a craft their entire lives, learning scales, chords, music theory and how music functions. They put their heart, blood, sweat, and tears into writing songs that they feel reflect not only who they are, but music that describes their community and surroundings. This may be music that has the capacity to touch the hearts and minds of people on a global scale.
Musicians rent elaborate studios with engineers and producers for thousands of dollars to create their works. Sometimes these albums can take months even years to produce and everyone has to get paid. The studio hours are long and vocal takes and instrumental takes can be repeated for hours on end. At the end of the recording process, the music has to be copyrighted and sent through slow government offices full of bureaucratic red tape. At the same time, a pr firm is usually hired for an outrageous and pretentious price, all with the hopes of getting a bit of press coverage at the regional and national levels.
Once the album is released, it has to be promoted. The band or music artist will go on tour for months; dealing with booking agents, tour managers, roadies, bizarre fans and in general oddball personalities. At the end of this long and arduous process, the artist may hope to make back a quarter of what was spent to produce the album. The great thing is you, the consumer, can get all of this for $3.99…or free.
But it shouldn’t stop there. Michelangelo spent four years painting the Sistine Chapel under the commission of Pope Julius II. Wouldn’t it be great if we could buy it on Amazon for $3.99 and then upload it onto YouTube? I wish we could also get the works of Salvador Dali, Jackson Pollack and Andy Warhol for free, stick it all on an iPod and share them with all our friends for the price of nothing. As a matter of fact, this principle can extend past art. When a couple tries for years to get pregnant, when they finally luck up and have a child, we should take that newborn baby’s social security card and sell it online for $3.99 to illegal immigrants. Then we can let the immigrants take copies of the social security card and pass them out to their friends at the work sites. Why not, it would only cost $3.99?
Robin Pecknold is a big baby. He spent his whole life dissecting songs and mastering his craft. He works hard to write beautiful songs that may one day become classic records like his idols’. He goes on tour for months at a time, does countless interviews, all in the hopes that one additional person may be turned onto his sound. But if the music is not priced at the same level as a whoopie cushion or Starbucks latte, why should I purchase it?