Matthew T Grant


Tall Guy. Glasses.

David Byrne, David Lowery, Creative Content and Money

I can’t remember when I first read David Lowery’s impassioned polemic directed at an NPR intern all the companies who profit from the exploitation of musicians and other creative artists, but I decided to revisit it after reading David Byrne’s more recent lamentations on streaming services and the sorry state of artist compensation in the modern age.

Byrne’s piece bothered me primarily due to this conclusion/claim:

…the whole model is unsustainable as a means of supporting creative work of any kind. Not just music. The inevitable result would seem to be that the internet will suck the creative content out of the whole world until nothing is left. Writers, for example, can’t rely on making money from live performances – what are they supposed to do? Write ad copy?

His argument boils down to this: Unless people can make a living creating art (or, more awkwardly producing “creative content”), then art will cease to exist.

Believing, as I do, that humans are creative by default (though that creative impulse may, sadly, be acculturated out of them over time), I found this claim preposterous.

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