LATELY the country-steeped singer-songwriter has become vocal and eloquent on issues of artists’s rights, including an appearance before lawmakers in Washington, DC; she’s also on the executive board of the Content Creators Coalition. The freshest thing about the arguments made by this daughter of St. Johnny is that she looks not only at technological and economic but the cultural causes of our current culture crash. In other words, what is it about our thinking, our assumptions about the arts, that have kept us from fixing this mess?
Here is what Cash posted on her Facebook account; I have blocked it into paragraphs for clarity.
For those of you who keep telling me that artists should work for free for the sheer joy of creation: You’ve been watching too many operas about starving artists who die before their time and are glorified for it. Do you pay your plumber? Your kid’s teacher? Your mechanic? Your grocer?
If art and music are not important to you, by all means, don’t buy them. If they are, then PAY for them, as you do everything else in your life that you require for physical or spiritual sustenance.
Yes, people will always create. I have spent 35 years of hard work, with a bone-crunching schedule, to achieve some level of mastery over what I do. It took me almost two years to make my last record, and I had to pay bills during that time. It is my profession, not my hobby.
I do not participate in the notion that music should be free, until tech companies who use our work as a loss leader also work for free, and until the CEOs of those companies stop taking home millions of dollars in ad revenues which they make by using the work of songwriters and musicians as bait.
Cash’s arguments have impressed me for a while now, and I hope to speak to her soon and get her to expand on some of this.