Joss Stone: “Music should be shared”

by Mathew on June 26, 2008 · 7 comments

Today’s musical hero (or heroine) is Joss Stone, the independently-minded pop/R&B singer who likes to perform barefoot and doesn’t seem to care much whether people download her songs illegally or burn them to whatever they want — in fact, she’s in favour of such behaviour. Why? Because music should be shared, she says:

“I think it’s brilliant and I’ll tell you why,” Stone said. “Music should be shared. [...] The only part about music that I dislike is the business that is attached to it. Now, if music is free, then there is no business, there is just music.

It’s okay, if one person buys it, it’s totally cool — burn it up, share it with your friends, I don’t care. I don’t care how you hear it as long as you hear it. As long as you come to my show, and have a great time listening to the live show it’s totally cool. I don’t mind.”

Video of the actual interview is here. TorrentFreak has more about Joss’s feelings on piracy, and Mashable has a take on it as well. Some other artists share their views on downloading and music in this recent New York Times piece, and reports continue to come in about musicians giving away music to create demand for live performances. And if you really want to reach back into the Internet time machine and find a female singer with a tremendously level-headed approach to downloading and file-sharing, check out what Janis Ian wrote back in 2002.

Update:

John Hiatt has some similar thoughts about the evolution of the music business. Thanks to Changing Way for the link.

  • http://scrawledinwax.com scrawledinwax

    This is hardly original, but how would Joss Stone be in a position to even had her comments about downloading heard if it wasn't for the sales of her records? Isn't there something a bit specious about an already established artist saying something like this? It seems kinda' like she's arguing *now* you can steal my music. I'm rich, what do I care?

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Well obviously her comments — which she might just as easily have made even before becoming successful — are more likely to be heard now that she is well-known. But I don't see how that invalidates what she's saying.

  • http://scrawledinwax.com scrawledinwax

    I'm not suggesting it invalidates what she says. It's just that there needs to be an acknowledgment of the dynamic at work where it's only Stone's participation in the music biz's 'old model' and reaching a sort of critical mass of fame/success that resulted in you writing this post. I agree with what she's saying. I just also believe that the new model will mean that there will be no Joss Stones in the future as the mechanisms of marketing/distribution etc. becoming radically fragmented i.e. Rex's idea about microfame will become the only sort of fame there is for musicians.

  • Helen

    pls don't encourage this — she can't speak for everyone — I've spent $20,000 making my CD at home and now I'm selling it — I'm not performing in big concert arenas and making tons of money — it's hard enough to get people to stop sharing/stealing music — and now a big star making these comments will make it even harder — people want to use every excuse to justify it — bottom line: you can't go into a store, buy one item and expect to walk out with a second one for free — it's stealing, plain and simple — it's irresponsible and reckless for her to speak for all musicians – especially when she is very wealthy and successful and the rest of us are not in the same boat

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Thanks for the comment, Helen. I realize that not everyone can be as
    successful as Joss Stone, and her comments may stem — at least in
    part — from being financially well off. But I still believe that for
    many artists, resting all of your hopes on CD sales is probably not
    wise (if it ever was) and not just because of file-sharing. If
    anything, I think that having people swapping your songs can
    *increase* your chances of becoming successful, rather than the
    opposite.

  • Helen

    pls don't encourage this — she can't speak for everyone — I've spent $20,000 making my CD at home and now I'm selling it — I'm not performing in big concert arenas and making tons of money — it's hard enough to get people to stop sharing/stealing music — and now a big star making these comments will make it even harder — people want to use every excuse to justify it — bottom line: you can't go into a store, buy one item and expect to walk out with a second one for free — it's stealing, plain and simple — it's irresponsible and reckless for her to speak for all musicians – especially when she is very wealthy and successful and the rest of us are not in the same boat

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Thanks for the comment, Helen. I realize that not everyone can be as
    successful as Joss Stone, and her comments may stem — at least in
    part — from being financially well off. But I still believe that for
    many artists, resting all of your hopes on CD sales is probably not
    wise (if it ever was) and not just because of file-sharing. If
    anything, I think that having people swapping your songs can
    *increase* your chances of becoming successful, rather than the
    opposite.

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