I implore you not to accuse us of hating on Sir Paul McCartney or Lily Allen (the British tabloids have claimed their stake in that), but we do need to call these two out for a moment. As suggested above, they’re both chock full of benevolence toward the plight of up-and-coming artists and they do truly believe they “get the internet,” but whenever that’s put into words, pull quotes ensue and things just get ugly.
Here’s McCartney’s latest quote on the subject (via Ars Technica):
I met [EMI’s chief executive] on a plane once. I said: “What is the problem? I want to do it, we all want to do it.” And he explained that in the deal that we want, they feel exposed. If [digitised Beatles music] gets out, if one employee decides to take it home and wap it on to the internet, we would have the right to say, “Now you recompense us for that. And they’re scared of that.”
BTW, “recompense” is artist-with-lawyer-money slang for “sue.” Gizmodo has already posted an update to their coverage of this quote, “Paul McCartney Doesn’t Understand the Internet,” adding that he is likely referring to the possible leak of master recordings, not iTunes-encoded or CD-ripped MP3s, but the damage is done. Now it just looks like the legendary surviving member of the Lennon/McCartney songwriting team has no idea that Beatles music has been circulating this here “series of tubes” for a decade at least. Again: he means well, but simmer down now, Macca.
And then there’s Lily Allen. She blogged about how piracy hurts young artists, calling out Featured Artist Coalition members Ed O’Brien (Radiohead), Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), and others. James Blunt, Patrick Wolf, Muse’s Matt Bellamy, and Sir Elton John rushed to her side, but Allen and the FAC ended up hugging it out under the pressure of public scrutiny. Well, she has remained mum for quite a while now, but then this quote happened (via Techdirt):
If someone comes up with a burnt copy of my CD and offers it to you for £4 I haven’t a problem with that as long as the person buying it places some kind of value on my music.
So Allen doesn’t have a problem with copying digital files, so long as said files end up on a non-hard disk at some point? That doesn’t make any sense and I think if we gave Allen some time to reflect she’d probably retract that statement.
To be clear, “LDN” is one of the best guilty pleasure songs of the past couple years, Lily, and the Beatles are the greatest band of all time, Paul, but please don’t you two worry your pretty little heads about this piracy stuff.