The statement below is from the band OK Go to their fans about why their YouTube videos, which made them famous before they had a record label, are no longer allowed to be embedded on other websites. It boils down to ads on YouTube that don’t earn money when videos are embedded. Damian Kulash, the lead singer, OK Goes on to comment on the state of the music industry as a whole.
Let’s take a wider view for a second. What we’re really talking about here is the shift in the way we think about music. We’re stuck between two worlds: the world of ten years ago, where music was privately owned in discreet little chunks (CDs), and a new one that seems to be emerging, where music is universally publicly accessible. The thing is, only one of these worlds has a (somewhat) stable system in place for funding music and all of its associated nuts-and-bolts logistics, and, even if it were possible, none of us would willingly return to that world. Aside from the smug assholes who ran labels, who’d want a system where a handful of corporate overlords shove crap down our throats? All the same, if music is going to be more than a hobby, someone, literally, has to pay the piper. So we’ve got this ridiculous situation where the machinery of the old system is frantically trying to contort and reshape and rewire itself to run without actually selling music. It’s like a car trying to figure out how to run without gas, or a fish trying to learn to breath air.
Without reaching too much, I can’t help but notice parallels between institutional Christianity and the music industry. Christianity like the music industry is stuck between two worlds. The old worked for a long time and then everything changed before it had a chance to contort and reshape itself, so it’s barely surviving. As the rapid period of changes took place, like any other dying animal, both went through the same stages: first, ignoring it was happening, then fighting the changes head on, then reluctantly accepting the changes and trying to survive in the new world, like a fish trying to learn to breathe air.
What are your thoughts? Have we already mastered the period of learning to breathe air, poised to move on to something else, all the other demands of land-dwelling? Are there other similarities between what is happening with the music industry and Christianity? With regard to how ministers were paid before and trying to figure out how to continue to pay them now? Before, people paid for music and now fewer people do. And people used to give to their churches, and now fewer people are. Artists get paid by record labels who often have too much control over them. On the other hand, ministers are largely supported by a small group of people within a congregation who give a lot, who sometimes have too much power over their ministers. What else?
If nothing else you might like the new OK Go song, which the band uploaded to Vimeo so it can be embedded.