Part 7 : Tipping/music as service

I know my place. I’m a waiter. I’m in the service

I live on tips. Occasionally, I’m going to get stiffed,
but that’s OK. If I work hard and I’m doing good work, I
believe that the people who enjoy it are going to want to
come directly to me and get my music because it sounds
better, since it’s mastered and packaged by me personally.
I’m providing an honest, real experience. Period.

When people buy the bootleg T-shirt in the concert
parking lot and not the more expensive T-shirt inside the
venue, it isn’t to save money. The T-shirt in the parking
lot is cheap and badly made, but it’s easier to buy. The
bootleggers have a better distribution system. There’s no
waiting in line and it only takes two minutes to buy

I know that if I can provide my own T-shirt that I
designed, that I made, and provide it as quickly or quicker
than the bootleggers, people who’ve enjoyed the experience
I’ve provided will be happy to shell out a little more money
to cover my costs. Especially if they understand this
context, and aren’t being shoveled a load of shit about
“uppity” artists.

It’s exactly the same with recorded music. The real thing
to fear from Napster is its simple and excellent
distribution system. No one really prefers a cruddy-sounding
Napster MP3 file to the real thing. But it’s really easy to
get an MP3 file; and in the middle of Kansas you may never
see my record because major distribution is really bad if
your record’s not in the charts this week, and even then it
takes a couple of weeks to restock the one copy they usually
keep on hand.

I also know how many times I have heard a song on the
radio that I loved only to buy the record and have the album
be a piece of crap. If you’re afraid of your own filler then
I bet you’re afraid of Napster. I’m afraid of Napster
because I think the major label cartel will get to them
before I do.

I’ve made three records. I like them all. I haven’t made
filler and they’re all committed pieces of work. I’m not
scared of you previewing my record. If you like it enough to
have it be a part of your life, I know you’ll come to me to
get it, as long as I show you how to get to me, and as long
as you know that it’s out.

Most people don’t go into restaurants and stiff waiters,
but record labels represent the restaurant that forces the
waiters to live on, and sometimes pool, their tips. And they
even fight for a bit of their tips.

Music is a service to its consumers, not a product. I
live on tips. Giving music away for free is what artists
have been doing naturally all their lives.

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