Garth Brooks is emblematic of another time in the record industry–a time when the Recording Industry Association of America’s Diamond certification meant something, a time when people would happily plunk down $13.98 or more for his latest album, a time when being “about the music” meant “paying for the music,” mannn. But it’s the age of rampant cost-free downloading, and he’s trying to figure out a way to keep the money flowing in. His solution? Pinning a bright badge to his cowboy hat and handing out tickets. E-tickets, that is!
Energized by this renewed sense of relevance, Brooks still remains wary of some aspects of 21st century music culture. He’s not fond of iTunes, remaining loyal to the album format. And when the subject of illegal downloading comes up, watch out.
“What is popular isn’t always right,” he said during a 20-minute rant. “My dad, who is 70-something, all he wants to do is eat sugar. All my child wants is to eat sugar. But we know it’s not the best for them.
“As a society, all we want is more free music. But let’s talk about me being on a soccer field, and hearing ‘More Than a Memory’ on somebody’s phone. I go over there and say, ‘Where’d you get that?’ and they tell you: a file-sharing place. I call that place and they say, ‘We can’t do anything until you write us a letter.’ Now how screwed up is that?”
Brooks knows that a multimillionaire like himself is unlikely to elicit much compassion from the music-should-be-free crowd; he cites the songwriters behind most country hits as piracy’s real victims.
“It’s gonna have to happen,” he said. “Every illegal download you do, you’d get a $25 ticket, like a parking ticket. What would 10 cuts for $12 feel like compared to that? And the people who create the songs will be able to pay for their children’s school.”
Ah, Garth. We were with you–c’mon, who wouldn’t love to see a reapplication of parking laws in the world of BitTerrorist hordes, if only for the massive lulz inspired by both the inept ways of “tracking people down” and the targeted kiddies’ inevitable tantrums?–until you tried to paint the whole “and then these peoples’ kids can get into expensive schools” picture. Weren’t you about the people, man? Even those who could only afford educations that were paid for by their tax dollars?
Garth Brooks is almost the retiring sort [LAT; HT Ned Raggett]