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Cracker’s David Lowery Argues With NPR Intern Over Illegal Downloading

David Lowery
Erik S. Lesser, Getty Images

Cracker frontman David Lowery frequently writes about the music industry for the blog the Trichordist, and his latest article is garnering some real interest. It takes on a recent post by an NPR intern named Emily White who says that she has purchased a grand total of 15 CDs in her life — despite having more than 11,000 songs on her iTunes library. Lowery’s response looks at the economic equation of such actions through the lens of a musician, and in doing so he brings up some very good points.

“As I’ve grown up, I’ve come to realize the gravity of what file-sharing means to the musicians I love,”  White writes in her original piece. “I can’t support them with concert tickets and T-shirts alone. But I honestly don’t think my peers and I will ever pay for albums. I do think we will pay for convenience.”

To that, Lowery plays the morals card, calling into question White and her generation’s priorities. “Many in your generation are willing to pay a little extra to buy ‘fair trade’ coffee that insures the workers that harvested the coffee were paid fairly,” he writes. “Many in your generation will pay a little more to buy clothing and shoes from manufacturers that  certify they don’t use  sweatshops.  Many in your generation pressured Apple to examine working conditions at Foxconn in China.”

All well and good actions, of course, but here is where Lowery drives his point home: “Your generation is largely responsible for the recent cultural changes that has given more equality to same sex couples. On nearly every count your generation is much more ethical and fair than my generation.  Except for one thing. Artist rights.”

Later, he basically sums it all up with this gem: ”Congratulations, your generation is the first generation in history to rebel by unsticking it to the man and instead sticking it to the weirdo freak musicians!”

Not surprisingly, the debate has stirred up support from several fellow musicians, who chimed in with their own opinions. “ICYMI, Here is David Lowery’s piece,” writes Death Cab for Cutie‘s Ben Gibbard in an especially persuasive Twitter post on the subject. ”It blows holes in every argument against buying music.”

So, which side are you on? Speak your mind in the comments section below.

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