Artists for the Ethical Treatment of Music
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I HEART Inc is all about artists giving back to their communities, working together on creative projects and events in the spirit of creating something bigger than the sum of its parts. In a climate in which it’s becoming increasingly difficult to survive in the recording arts, we’ve decided to also launch a program that allows music makers and music lovers to help one another.
It’s challenging more so than ever for independent musicians (and the vast network of those that work in conjunction with them) to make ends meet due to the diminishing returns of music and our inability to find a way to protect and fairly compensate the artists who create it. The mission of this project is to provide independent musicians with grants that will aid in the proliferation of great music. We hope to not only raise funding, but also awareness. We’d like to educate and promote an understanding of artist’s rights and the value of music in an attempt to do our part in facilitating change within a system that is currently failing too many.
We’d much appreciate your help in raising awareness and funding by wearing one of our Artists For The Ethical Treatment of Music t-shirts. If you'd like send us your website or a photo of yourself wearing your t-shirt and we'll add it to our site. Also, if you’re an artist please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line AETM. We’d love to partner with you and have you sell T-shirts and make a profit that you can then invest into your art (we fulfill the orders and send you $5 for every shirt you sell).
This project is inspired by the music industry’s diminishing returns and musician’s diminishing rights, something we’re more actively discussing now-a-days. Sadly though there appears to be a schism in thought. Some are claiming those in the music world who are up in arms should quit whining and embrace the ‘new industry model’ as the ‘old model’ in which people actually pay for the acquisition of music is dead. Others are hoping that now that the doors of discussion are opening we might soon be able to address the ever-growing problems and concerns the industry and its artists are facing. No matter what model or perspective you endorse though, we feel as if we should all be able to agree on one simple thing: it is unethical and even unlawful to monetize someone else’s creation while leaving the creator him/herself empty-handed.
We can discuss whether it’s too late to monetize songs and albums themselves, whether a generation that expects convenient free music could ever come around to accepting it otherwise, whether music is now ticket sales and t-shirts, Kickstarter, Twitter and viral videos. But we’d like to address something else here: free music. Free to the consumer doesn’t necessarily translate into music being given away and exchanged freely. Money IS usually being made but not necessarily by the artist him/herself. For example, file sharing sites are making money off their advertisers, if you search for that ‘free download’ Google is making money off their advertisers, Spotify and Pandora are making money off of subscriptions and their advertisers, internet service providers are making huge profits on the high demand for broadband internet access, yet somehow we still can’t find a way to fairly compensate our artists for these transactions. Millions upon millions of songs are downloaded or streamed for ‘free’ on a daily basis and millions of dollars in advertising are made surrounding these transactions. If we embrace the ‘new model’ and accept music being free to the public, why not also envision a system in which those who ARE making money could compensate artists, pay appropriate royalties, and STILL make money? The same technology that brought innovations in regards to the accessibility of music can bring us further innovation that will allow for the ethical treatment of music. The same advertising dollars and subscription based music platforms that sustain ‘free music’ could pay fair royalties to our artists.
In conclusion, we’d like to propose that the debate between the ‘old model’ and the ‘new model’ be laid to rest. It’s not about accepting the way things are or wanting them to go back to the way they were. It’s not about failed congressional legislation. It’s about moving forward. It’s about creating an even NEWER model, one that takes into consideration the consumer’s wants, one that protects copyrights and free speech, one that keeps corporate greed in check, and one that revalues music and treats all artist’s creations ethically. We are not claiming to have all the answers, but we do believe change is possible, that the foundation of change is awareness, and that we ought to contribute by 'doing what we can with where we are and what we’ve got'.
Thank you for your support!
With love and hope for a bright future of music,
I HEART Inc