Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Nov 11th 2009 3:00PM by Dan Reilly
The outspoken punk icon is realistic about what's causing the problems. "The horrible economy and people being broke goes hand in hand with the temptation to share everything," he says. "With major labels, who cares? They use every trick in the book to rip off their artists anyway but the smaller independent artists and labels, they feel it pretty hard."
And of course, major labels and the RIAA are part of the problem in Biafra's view. "The RIAA suing the s--- out of people to the tune of $100 million from those lawsuits and not one penny has been given back to any of the artists," he says. "They say it's all going to what they call a charity organization of lawyers to fund more lawyers to sue more people. That's major labels' idea of charity and that's why I never wanted to be owned and operated by one. The major labels are the ones who deserve to be file shared because they use every trick in the book to rip off their artists anyway. It's the smaller, underground independents and even the artists themselves you may risk losing altogether if they don't have any way of continuing their work."
As more bands call it quits, labels fold and record stores close up shop, Biafra says music lovers need to change their attitudes. "Tons of people go to the shows and say 'Oh yeah, it's really cool. I burned your CD for 15 of my friends.' Of course, not all 15 would have bought the album but if even five would have, it would have really helped the band," he says. "That's only going to get tougher if more and more people grow up with the idea that all music should be free. I think the closest thing to a solution is to make it more like subscriptions. You pay so much a month and you can download all the music you want."
Obviously, this isn't the end-all solution and Biafra realizes that it presents a new set of problems. "That of course uncorks another bottle whereby the people providing the subscriptions are going to be hit up to provide all the money to major labels and forget about the smaller artists," he says. I've seen what some members of my current band are going through trying to pay their bills and it's a wonder they have any energy left to play music at all. Of course, a lot of people in that situation stop playing music altogether."
Biafra's latest album, 'The Audacity of Hype' by Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, is available now.