The Price, Cost and Value of Digital Music


Reedist Ingrid Laubrock said she relishes the freedom that comes with recording for independent labels like Relative Pitch and Germany’s Intakt, but remains skeptical of the music industry’s digital shift.

(Photo: Helmut Berns)

He laughs, recalling one student who announced, in a rehearsal, that an Andrew Hill record Moran had discussed was not available to stream. “I clapped in that moment and said ‘Yeah, how free do we think we are when we’re told that everything is in one place, and then when it’s not, we believe it doesn’t exist?’ That’s dangerous. It’s a death sentence.”

New Amsterdam’s Brittelle adds: “We need people to understand that in order to keep going, we need more support than people just liking and streaming our music. We don’t want to have a divide in our thinking between someone who’s a fan, a donor, a friend. We want to try to merge all that together.”

Douglas, meanwhile, reports that, at Greenleaf, his experimental model is working—to a point.

“I’m not losing money,” he said. “It’s just a sustainable way to keep documenting and releasing good creative music by artists I believe in and doing my own work. ... Maybe If I were a better businessman, I wouldn’t be doing it.”
As a listener, Laubrock’s recently accepted streaming into her life. But she notes that, on tour, Apple Music has proven indisputably more convenient than lugging around all the tunes that she might want to hear. Streaming isn’t the end of her relationship with works she enjoys: “If I like the music, I still buy the CD.”

And Moran’s just happy that people are finding their way to his work. “People will say, ‘Oh, what’s Jason been up to the last three years?’ Then they stumble onto the site: ‘He made six records and I didn’t even know?’ Then some just buy all of them. They’re like, ‘Oh, shit, I had no idea.’” DB

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