. . . but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Plus, I’m fairly sure some other music journalist has done that before, even before the obligatory Google search.
In any case, I was reading a NY Times editorial from Billy Bragg on the rights of musicians when it comes to social networking sites. Of particular note to me was this quote:
The claim that sites such as MySpace and Bebo are doing us a favor by promoting our work is disingenuous. Radio stations also promote our work, but they pay us a royalty that recognizes our contribution to their business. Why should that not apply to the Internet, too?
The fact that this statement re-emphasizes the intrinsic value of the music posted on the site is tremendously important. One might argue that there’s some value to the free hosting and networking possibilities provided by these social networking sites, but there’s something to be said for the drawing power of these tracks in bringing traffic to the site itself. That’s not to discount the value of promotional tracks or “name your own price” sales, but those functions are usually more under the control of the artist than other uses.