It’s possible. We’ll Write is a cumbersome, awful name for a band. It has apostrophes and sounds like Wheelwright, which makes it diffcult to explain who we are and what we’re about. Half the time I’m not even sure what we’re about, and if the Tom knows it’s only because he’s making it up and changing the definition every 7-10 working days.

I was going to post today about Lily Allen’s campaign for artists’ rights, which manifested as a blog which could be described variously as rabid, pig-ignorant and stultifyingly ill-informed. I’d post a link and some hilarious quotes, but she’s axed the whole thing. On her Twitter, she says, “there is a meeting today in london where artists are meeting to discuss Piracy. my job done. i wont be attending the meeting because it’s going to be a press frenzy and i don’t want to detract from the issues.” Of course, I rather think that she’s not attending because she can’t debate for toffee and barely understands the issues. On the blog she was championing That Cunt Mandelson, misunderstanding the difference between civil and criminal offences, and betraying her total ignorance of privacy and security issues in the 21st Century. Poor starving Lily, she must really be struggling on EMI, with her marketing and tours and album sales.

Of course, we’ve made no money from our recordings because we’ve given them all away for free. As a business strategy this has yet to really work out for us. We’re also a bit stuck on the acoustic circuit in London, which doesn’t pay at all, so we’re not doing too well financially on any front. But the Tom has a few ideas, and, executed correctly, we may yet see a small amount of cash in the future of Not-We’ll Write. But the crucial thing here is our eyes are open to the realities of the music industry as it stands (or stumbles) in 2009. We’re not expecting the sort of extravagant lifestyles certain “artists” apparently believe they’re entitled to. Nor are we going to stop making music because the likelihood of becoming rich and famous is apparently slimmer than ever. That’s not why we write and play, although obviously the idea of making a living, even a modest one, out of music is impossibly appealing.

So musicians today face greater challenges, and as The Industry falters because it really isn’t very sure how to cope, bands like Not-We’ll Write need to find their own way, to create their own business. I don’t have a problem with that. Labels need artists more than artists need labels. Without artists, labels would just be releasing shiny plastic discs with no sound on them. Without labels, artists need to generate their own revenue and attract their own fans; that’s why we have the internet! Maybe we won’t make vast amounts of money, but we will continue to write, play and record because we want to create and want others to enjoy.

Peripheral to all this is a comment made by DrownedInSound honcho Sean, whom I believe to be as self-righteous a dick as one could possibly imagine, and he has this to say about owning music and services like Spotify:

“why would you need to own it if you can always access it? and why do you NEED to own it? people only want(ed) record collections so they can display them like a fast car (or penis extension). i consume nearly all my music digitally and have done for nearly a decade. for me, the cd has become little more than a carcass.”

And y’know, that’s fine for him. But if I pay for something, I want to actually own it, have a copy of it for my own use, wherever and whenever I please, not just when I happen to be near a computer or an internet connection. And like any kind of data storage, being able to access that music is okay so long as it is there to access. This is an incredibly simplified argument, as I’m not really in the mood to get right into this one, but I think what we’re essentially talking about here is the difference between owning and renting, and I know which I’d rather. Although even buying downloads to disseminate for your own use is less satisfying in my opinion.

Also, fuck that guy and his opinion of record collectors. I don’t collect records and CDs for some kind of notional pissing contest, I do so because I’m a fetishist and I simply love the physical (and, I suppose, ephemeral) aspects of music collection. And I am dearly looking forward to the day there’s a Not-We’ll Write 7″ available to own. That would just fill me with such joy.

I’ve gone off on one a bit, I know. What I’m getting at is that I don’t see filesharers as wicked criminals ruining the creative arts. If people love music, they will buy music. If fewer people buy music, then me and the Tom just have to work harder, but it’s not going to deter us from doing what we want to do. But if it puts Lily Allen off to the point she stops recording music herself, then that can only be a good thing.

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