Greatly enjoyed last night’s Grammys from a front-row seat in my favorite chair, feeling all the love and power of music to bring together different generations and cultural backgrounds with synergistic results. The power of music is so great, and the fragility of its remunerative distribution system so precarious in these times, that I only wish the important message of securing fair and deserving compensation for the creative blessings bestowed upon us by composers, lyricists, artists, performers, producers, designers and the entire panoply of persons responsible for such a great night of music had been delivered early and often rather than at the end of the broadcast.
There must be a more direct connection between, and an omnipresent awareness of, the connection between our enjoyment of musical treasures and the promotion of their creation. By ensuring that artists, musicians, songwriters and other creators enjoy the fruits of their glorious labors — most of which are spent in arduous hours of striving before their works see the light of day and the love of their fans — we invest wisely in the cultural wealth that makes living worthwhile. So let’s show more love for what we receive from these modern Michelangelos, and work together to ensure that their livelihoods and those of emerging artists are unblemished by piracy, casual theft, or inadequate attention to appropriate distribution controls.
Music is a gift, but it is not free. The artists, composers and performers who work so hard to make the most of their gifts and who delight us with their creations are certainly no less entitled to receive the fruits of their labors than the butcher, baker or candlestick maker. Given the intangible character of copyright; the elusive but sublime combinations of melody, harmony, rhythm and lyrics that characterize our greatest songs; and the resulting far greater obstacles to keeping adequate track of their distribution in comparison to the butcher’s inventory, we should be striving to ensure widespread societal recognition that, if we allow the songs to leave the barn before they enter the royalty stream, it will not only be the cows who have nothing to dance to.
Grammys Day Plus One, 2015