Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber looks pretty pissed off. And if you've ever illegally downloaded music from the internet, it's your fault. Although, to be honest, he's always looked like that. The lumpy, tea-bag-faced impressario spoke out about the 'dire consequences' of unregulated behaviour, expressing his concern for the future of music.
I recently tackled the same subject on this very blog, although my viewpoint was somewhat different. The problem is, LLoyd Webber is both a creative talent and a businessman, and you can tell which side his bread's buttered on. Despite expressing his fears for the next generation of Beatles, he seems more concerned with the investments of 'TV, film, games and publishing companies' than the actual artists. Rolling around in outrageous hyperbole, he calls the internet 'a sort of Somalia of unregulated theft and piracy', and laments the 'cataclysmic consequences'. Good grief, it's almost enough to make you want to listen to 'Close Every Door'.
The problem is, in his money-grasping, publishing-company-owning world, it's all about lost revenue. So he can't see that the struggling talents he claims to defend, are actually liberated and empowered by the internet, not robbed by it. They can reach listeners directly, they can develop their own word-of-mouth marketing campaigns, and they can create the music they want to make. These are the people who would never refer to their songs as 'output' or 'product'. Here's a great case in point - this is Jay Brannan, a ridiculously talented singer-songwriter who has managed to turn himself into an internationally loved performer, using YouTube, iTunes and the power of blogging.
Alternatively, let's look at Lord Webber's recent 'output'. Shakalaka Baby (possibly the most tuneless song ever to be endured in a theatre seat) and this, our proud entry in this year's Eurovision Song Contest. Nul points anyone?