Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Mix: The Songs Of The Summer, 1962-2012

(By Eleanor Kagan,, June 20, 2012)

Tom Kelley/Tom Kelley Archive/Stringer/Getty Images
This group is most likely singing yet another rendition of "Call Me Maybe."

People have funny ways of describing hit pop songs. A song is "infectious," an "earworm." It "gets under your skin." It's not summer without little annoyances — sunburn, mosquito bites, sweat — just as it's not summer without the Song of the Summer. This is a song (or two, or three) that explodes and quickly permeates pop culture. It runs rampant up and down your radio dial, around your parties and deep in your brain. Perhaps this is why such pop music is described in terms usually reserved for the plague.

The songs that win the summer season spread so fast and far because they work. They're fun to sing. The hooks are catchy. They speak to something larger than our tastes, fulfilling a collective need for music that's as danceable as it is escapist as it is a shared experience. This happens every year. We here at NPR Music wondered what we might discover when we put all the Songs of the Summers of the past 50 years in one place. What story would they tell us?
Billboard has compiled lists of the top 10 charting Songs of the Summer from 1985 through 2011, so figuring those was easy. For the summers of 1962 through 1984, we looked through the June-August Billboard charts, taking note of which songs were on the charts the longest, in any position, and which had staying power at No. 1. It wasn't a perfect science, but we made our best educated decisions about which songs once ruled the radio and the cash registers.

While this mix will not play in chronological order, some interesting patterns pop up when you consider the songs listed below. The sound of popular music has changed the most, as the top summer hits go from surf rock in the early 1960s through British then American rock 'n' roll, disco, power ballads, R&B, boy bands and hip-hop. Recently, anthemic dance pop has taken over, with songs that seem louder and more bombastic than ever (even if hits today tend to be slower in tempo). And there's something in the songs' messages — be it that breakups suck, or that summer is the best time to be carefree, or that dancing is our path to freedom — that tells us what cultural values seeped into (or out of) music in a given year. Amid the songs in this mix, hear NPR hosts and reporters share their memories of hearing these songs when they were in their prime.
What will be the Song of the Summer 2012? Carly Rae Jepsen's sweet, string-laden "Call Me Maybe"? Or Swedish duo Icona Pop's blazing kiss-off anthem "I Love It"? Perhaps it's something we've yet to hear, devour, sicken of, run into later and fall in love with all over again.

Songs In This Mix:

  • 2012: Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe"
  • 2012: Icona Pop, "I Love It"
  • 2011: Adele, "Rolling In The Deep"
  • 2011: LMFAO, "Party Rock Anthem"
  • 2011: Nicki Minaj, "Super Bass"
  • 2010: Eminem featuring Rihanna, "Love the Way You Lie"
  • 2010: Katy Perry, "California Gurls"
  • 2010: Taio Cruz, "Dynamite"
  • 2009: Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling"
  • 2009: Taylor Swift, "You Belong With Me"
  • 2008: Coldplay, "Viva La Vida"
  • 2008: Katy Perry, "I Kissed A Girl"
  • 2008: Lil Wayne featuring Static Major, "Lollipop"
  • 2007: Rihanna featuring Jay-Z, "Umbrella"
  • 2007: T-Pain featuring Yung Joc, "Buy U A Drank"
  • 2006: Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy"
  • 2006: Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland, "Promiscuous"
  • 2006: Shakira, "Hips Don't Lie"
  • 2005: Gwen Stefani, "Hollaback Girl"
  • 2005: The Pussycat Dolls featuring Busta Rhymes, "Don't Cha"
  • 2004: Juvenile featuring Soulja Slim, "Slow Motion"
  • 2004: Usher, "Confessions Part II"
  • 2003: BeyoncĂ© featuring Jay-Z, "Crazy In Love"
  • 2003: Chingy, "Right Thurr"
  • 2003: Sean Paul, "Get Busy"
  • 2002: Avril Lavigne, "Complicated"
  • 2002: Jimmy Eat World, "The Middle"
  • 2002: Eminem, "Without Me"
  • 2002: Nelly, "Hot In Herre"
  • 2001: Destiny's Child, "Bootylicious"
  • 2001: Eve featuring Gwen Stefani, "Let Me Blow Ya Mind"
  • 2000: Aaliyah, "Try Again"
  • 2000: 'NSYNC, "It's Gonna Be Me"
  • 1999: Christina Aguilera, "Genie In A Bottle"
  • 1999: Jennifer Lopez, "If You Had My Love"
  • 1999: Len, "Steal My Sunshine"
  • 1999: Smash Mouth, "All Star"
  • 1998: Brandy & Monica, "The Boy Is Mine"
  • 1998: Next, "Too Close"
  • 1998: Vengaboys, "We Like To Party"
  • 1998: The Backstreet Boys, "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"
  • 1997: Hanson, "MMMBop"
  • 1997: Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy & Ma$e, "Mo Money Mo Problems"
  • 1997: Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans & 112, "I'll Be Missing You"
  • 1996: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, "Tha Crossroads"
  • 1996: Los Del Rio, "Macarena"
  • 1996: Mariah Carey, "Always Be My Baby"
  • 1995: Seal, "Kiss From A Rose"
  • 1995: TLC, "Waterfalls"
  • 1994: Ace of Base, "Don't Turn Around"
  • 1994: All-4-One, "I Swear"
  • 1994: Lisa Loeb, "Stay"
  • 1994: Warren G & Nate Dogg, "Regulate"
  • 1993: Tag Team, "Whoomp! (There It Is)"
  • 1993: UB40, "Can't Help Falling In Love"
  • 1992: Boys II Men, "End of the Road"
  • 1992: Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Under the Bridge"
  • 1992: Sir Mix-A-Lot, "Baby Got Back"
  • 1991: Bryan Adams, "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You"
  • 1991: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, "Summertime"
  • 1991: EMF, "Unbelievable"
  • 1990: Mariah Carey, "Vision Of Love"
  • 1990: New Kids on the Block, "Step By Step"
  • 1989: Martika, "Toy Soldiers"
  • 1989: Richard Marx, "Right Here Waiting"
  • 1988: Cheap Trick, "The Flame"
  • 1988: Steve Winwood, "Roll With It"
  • 1987: Heart, "Alone"
  • 1987: U2, "With Or Without You"
  • 1987: Whitney Houston, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"
  • 1986: Madonna, "Papa Don't Preach"
  • 1986: Peter Cetera, "Glory Of Love"
  • 1985: Huey Lewis & The News, "The Power of Love"
  • 1985: Tears For Fears, "Shout"
  • 1984: Cyndi Lauper, "Time After Time"
  • 1984: Prince & The Revolution, "When Doves Cry"
  • 1983: The Police, "Every Breath You Take"
  • 1983: Irene Cara, "Flashdance...What a Feeling"
  • 1982: Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder, "Ebony & Ivory"
  • 1982: Human League, "Don't You Want Me"
  • 1982: Survivor, "Eye of the Tiger"
  • 1981: Rick Springfield, "Jessie's Girl"
  • 1981: Kim Carnes, "Bette Davis Eyes"
  • 1980: Lipps, Inc., "Funkytown"
  • 1980: Billy Joel, "It's Still Rock & Roll to Me"
  • 1979: Donna Summer, "Bad Girls"
  • 1979: Anita Ward, "Ring My Bell"
  • 1978: Andy Gibb, "Shadow Dancing"
  • 1978: Frankie Valli, "Grease"
  • 1977: Shaun Cassidy, "Da Doo Ron Ron"
  • 1977: Fleetwood Mac, "Dreams"
  • 1976: Starland Vocal Band, "Afternoon Delight"
  • 1976: Elton John & Kiki Dee, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
  • 1976: Wings, "Silly Love Songs"
  • 1975: The Captain & Tennille, "Love Will Keep Us Together"
  • 1974: Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods, "Billy, Don't Be A Hero"
  • 1974: George McCrae, "Rock Your Baby"
  • 1973: Diana Ross, "Touch Me In The Morning"
  • 1973: Jim Croce, "Bad Bad Leroy Brown"
  • 1972: Bill Withers, "Lean On Me"
  • 1972: Sammy Davis, Jr., "The Candy Man"
  • 1971: Bee Gees, "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?"
  • 1971: Carole King, "It's Too Late"
  • 1970: The Carpenters, "(They Long To Be) Close To You"
  • 1970: The Jackson 5, "The Love You Save"
  • 1970: Edwin Starr, "War"
  • 1969: The Beatles, "Get Back"
  • 1969: The Rolling Stones, "Honky Tonk Woman"
  • 1968: Simon & Garfunkel, "Mrs. Robinson"
  • 1968: The Rascals, "People Got To Be Free"
  • 1967: Aretha Franklin, "Respect"
  • 1967: The Doors, "Light My Fire"
  • 1966: Tommy James & The Shondells, "Hanky Panky"
  • 1966: The Troggs, "Wild Thing"
  • 1966: The Lovin' Spoonful, "Summer In The City"
  • 1965: The Byrds, "Mr. Tambourine Man"
  • 1965: The Beatles, "Help!"
  • 1965: The Rolling Stones, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
  • 1965: Sonny & Cher, "I Got You Babe"
  • 1964: Dean Martin, "Everybody Loves Somebody"
  • 1964: The Animals, "House of the Rising Sun"
  • 1964: The Beach Boys, "I Get Around"
  • 1963: Lesley Gore, "It's My Party"
  • 1963: Jan & Dean, "Surf City"
  • 1962: Ray Charles, "I Can't Stop Loving You"
  • 1962: Neil Sedaka, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do"
  • 1962: Little Eva, "The Loco-Motion"

Writer-Filmmaker Nora Ephron Dies At 71

(By Hillel Italie Associated Press, June 28, 2012)

 Among the injustices about the death of Nora Ephron is that she isn't around to tell us about it.  "She was so, so alive," says her friend Carrie Fisher. "It makes no sense to me that she isn't alive anymore."  Ephron, the essayist, author and filmmaker who challenged and thrived in the male-dominated worlds of movies and journalism and was loved, respected and feared for her devastating and diverting wit, died Tuesday in Manhattan. She was 71.  Ephron died at 7:40 p.m. at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, her family said in a statement Tuesday night. She died of leukemia.

Born into a family of screenwriters, a top journalist in her 20s and 30s, then a best-selling author and successful director, Ephron was among the most quotable and influential writers of her generation. She wrote and directed such favorites as "Julie & Julia" and "Sleepless in Seattle," and her books included the novel "Heartburn," a knockout roman a clef about her marriage to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein; and the popular essay collections "I Feel Bad About My Neck" and "I Remember Nothing."  She was tough on others—Bernstein's marital transgressions were immortalized by the horndog spouse in "Heartburn," a man "capable of having sex with a Venetian blind"—and relentless about herself. She wrote openly about her difficult childhood, her failed relationships, her doubts about her physical appearance and the hated intrusion of age.

"We all look good for our age. Except for our necks," she wrote in the title piece from "I Feel Bad About My Neck," published in 2006. "Oh, the necks. There are chicken necks. There are turkey gobbler necks. There are elephant necks. There are necks with wattles and necks with creases that are on the verge of becoming wattles. ... According to my dermatologist, the neck starts to go at 43 and that's that."

Even within the smart-talking axis of New York-Washington-Los Angeles, no one bettered Ephron, slender and dark-haired, her bright and pointed smile like a one-liner made flesh. Friends from Mike Nichols and Meryl Streep to Calvin Trillin and Pete Hamill adored her for her wisdom, her loyalty and turns of phrase.   As a screenwriter, Ephron was nominated three times for Academy Awards, for "Silkwood," ''When Harry Met Sally ..." and "Sleepless in Seattle," and was the rare woman to write, direct and produce Hollywood movies. Fisher and Meg Ryan were among the many actresses who said they loved working with Ephron because she understood them so much better than did her male peers.

"I suppose you could say Nora was my ideal," Fisher said. "In a world where we're told that you can't have it all, Nora consistently proved that adage wrong. A writer, director, wife, mother, chef, wit—there didn't seem to be anything she couldn't do. And not just do it, but excel at it, revolutionize it, set the bar for every other screenwriter, novelist, director."  "Nora Ephron was a journalist-artist who knew what was important to know; how things really worked, what was worthwhile, who was fascinating and why," said "Sleepless in Seattle" star Tom Hanks. "At a dinner table and on a film set she lifted us all with wisdom and wit mixed with love for us and love for life."

The eldest of four children, Ephron was born in New York to screenwriters Harry and Phoebe Ephron, who moved to Beverly Hills, Calif., when she was 4 years old. Words, words, words were the air she breathed. Regular visitors included "Casablanca" co-writer Julius J. Epstein, "Sunset Boulevard" collaborator Charles Brackett, and the team of Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, who worked on "The Thin Man" and "It's a Wonderful Life."  Everyone was in movies, "the business."  "People who were not in the business were known as civilians," Ephron wrote in "I Remember Nothing."

If the best humor is born out of sadness, then Ephron was destined for comedy. She was 15, she recalled, when her mother became an alcoholic, finishing off a bottle of scotch a night. Her father, too, was a heavy drinker, "sloppy, sentimental," although "somehow his alcoholism was more benign."  Determined by high school to be a journalist, Ephron graduated from the single-sex Wellesley College in 1962, moved to New York and started out as a "mail girl" and fact checker at Newsweek. A newspaper strike at the end of the year gave her a chance. Victor Navasky, the future editor of The Nation, was then running a satirical magazine called the Monacle. He was working on a parody of the New York Post, "The New York Pest," and asked Ephron for a spoof of Post columnist Leonard Lyons.

She succeeded so well that the newspaper's publisher, Dorothy Schiff, reasoned that anyone who could make fun of the Post could also write for it. Ephron was asked to try out as a reporter. Within a week, she had a permanent job and remained there five years. The Post, she later wrote, was a "terrible paper," and she envied her peers at The New York Times and elsewhere who had more time to work on stories and had better access to people they wanted to interview.  "But the point is this. I was better off ..." she wrote in the introduction to the essay collection "Wallflower at the Orgy, published in 1970. "I learned to go through the clips, find the names of people from the subject's past, hunt them up in old telephone books, track them down, and pull out anecdotes they knew. What I'm saying may seem obvious; but one of the things that stuns me is how seldom reporters do this."

Ephron began writing for Esquire and The New York Times and developed a national following as a throwback to the prime of Dorothy Parker and S.J. Perelman and a worthy peer of such new and hip journalists as Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe. She covered political conventions, the feminist movement and Wellesley, which she labeled a factory for "docile" women. Part of her gift was her fresh takes on such traditional subjects for women as food and fashion, like in the essay "The Food Establishment: Life in the Land of the Rising Souffle (Or Is It the Rising Meringue?)"  "The typical member of the Food Establishment," she wrote, "is given to telling you, apropos of nothing, how many souffles he has been known to make in a short period of time. ... He gossips a good deal about his colleagues, about what they are cooking, writing, and eating; and whom they are talking to, about everything, in fact, except the one thing everyone else in the universe gossips about—who is sleeping with whom."

By the 1970s, she had met Bernstein, who teamed with fellow Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward on prize-winning coverage of the Watergate scandal that brought down President Nixon. They married in 1976, and had two children, but love soon turned to hate—and matured into art. Ephron was pregnant with their second child when she learned Bernstein was having an affair, a betrayal that had its rewards, once she stopped crying.  She wrote "Heartburn," later a film starring Streep and Jack Nicholson and directed by Nichols, with whom she collaborated often. The book was so close to her life that Bernstein threatened to sue.

Decades later, the memory of the book's birth was easily summoned.  "Yes, totally, completely, absolutely, sitting at the legendary and long-gone Smith Corona electric typewriter that I once had," she told The Associated Press in 2010. "I was working on a screenplay and wrote the first 10 pages of a novel, and I knew the title, knew there were going to be recipes in it. This I remember, exactly where I was, working and knowing, 'Oh, I see, enough time has passed that I'm ready to do this.'"  Another perk from her time with Bernstein: She sussed out that "Deep Throat," the unnamed and unknown Watergate source, was in fact FBI official Mark Felt. She would allege that she told countless people about Felt, who did not acknowledge his role until years later.

Her screenwriting credits included "Heartburn," the nuclear power drama "Silkwood" and the romantic comedy "When Harry Met Sally ..." She twice directed the team of Ryan and Hanks, in "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail," and also worked with John Travolta (in the fantasy "Michael"), Steve Martin ("Mixed Nuts") and Nicole Kidman ("Bewitched").

Ephron had a great nose for nonsense, but was enough a citizen of Hollywood to fall, and fall hard, for a happy ending. "Sleepless in Seattle," in which Ryan and Hanks play long-distance admirers who meet at film's end, was not only a remake of the weeper "An Affair to Remember," but a tribute to how movies might tell us how to live. Ryan and her best pal, played by Rosie O'Donnell, are seen watching "Affair to Remember," which inspires Ryan to suggest to Hanks that they meet—like Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr—on top of the Empire State Building, on Valentine's Day.  "That's a chicks' movie," Hanks' character says when he learns about the film's plot.
Ephron was married three times: to Dan Greenburg, Bernstein and, quite happily, to "Wiseguy" author Nicholas Pileggi, whose book was adapted into the Martin Scorsese film "Goodfellas." Sisters Delia, Amy and Hallie Ephron also are writers and Nora and Delia collaborated on such films as "This Is My Life" and "Sleepless in Seattle."  In her essay "The O Word," Nora Ephron anticipated growing too old to make jokes about her age. She would be "really old," beyond sex in a hotel room, or even a frozen custard at Shake Shack. It would be nice if she believed in a higher being, but the phrase "everything happens for a reason" is a sermon that only annoys her.

Ephron wrote of summers in the Hamptons on Long Island when her children were little, of fireworks on the Fourth of July and picnics on the beach. She loved the sound of geese in mid-July—"one of the things that made the summers out there so magical." As she aged, the geese reminded her that summer will end, and so will everything else.  "I especially began to hate their sound, which was not beating wings—how could I have ever thought it was?—but a lot of uneuphonious honks," she writes. "Now we don't go to Long Island in the summer and I don't hear the geese. Sometimes, instead, we go to Los Angeles, where there are hummingbirds, and I love to watch them because they're so busy getting the most out of life."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Remember Paris

(by Alison Kim and James Buddell, Duece magazine, May 24, 2012)

As Rafael Nadal embarks on a mission to become the first player to win seven Roland Garros titles, DEUCE magazine turns to a host of former champions to analyse one of the most remarkable records in tennis history: Nadal’s 45-1 record on the red dirt of Paris.

2005: Michael Chang On The First Triumph

Final, d. Puerta 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1, 7-5

A 16-year-old Rafael Nadal should have made his Grand Slam debut at Roland Garros in 2003, only to suffer an elbow injury during practice leading up to the event. The Mallorcan’s coming out party was once again put on hold the following year due to a stress fracture in his left ankle.  “I think in certain aspects it probably made him very hungry,” says Michael Chang, the 1989 champion.  While Chang’s triumph in Paris - when he became the youngest men’s Grand Slam champion at 17 years of age - came as a bit of a surprise, Nadal had already proved that he was a force to be reckoned with by the time he finally stepped on the Roland Garros courts.

In the year between the 2004 and 2005 championships, Nadal had won his first six ATP World Tour titles - all on clay - including a pair of Masters 1000 titles at Monte-Carlo and Rome. He had Grand Slam experience under his belt, highlighted by a fourth-round run at the Australian Open earlier that year, and also boasted a 17-match winning streak entering Paris.  “Ironically it was his first French Open, but he was seeded four in the tournament already,” remembers Chang. “He already knew how to win. It was just a matter of getting on that clay, which he has been so extremely dominant at that period of time. He did have actually a very good draw that first year, though I don’t know that necessarily would’ve made a difference.  “I think he was already a heavy favourite to certainly, if not win, certainly to go out there and do extremely well. It’s not like he came out of nowhere and we said, who is this guy?”

Nadal marched past Lars Burgsmuller, Xavier Malisse, Richard Gasquet, Sebastien Grosjean and David Ferrer with the loss of just one set, and then came face-to-face with World No. 1 Roger Federer in the semi-finals. The pair had met in the Miami final a couple months earlier, a match Federer had battled from two sets down to prevail in five, and Chang reckons that Nadal called upon that experience in Paris.  “I know that for me, having lost to [John] McEnroe the previous year at the French was actually a really good experience for me because it helped me to get a good gauge of what it’s like to play against a top-ranked player on a very big stage,” he says.

“Whenever he’s out on the red clay courts at Roland Garros, there is an extra fire”.  While Chang produced a classic Davis versus Goliath take-down of World No. 1 Ivan Lendl in the Round of 16 after four hours and 39 minutes, Nadal needed less than three hours to defeat Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in overcast conditions. “He’d already beaten some of the big-name players and now putting him on his favourite surface, on the red clay, it was a surprise, but not so much a shock because you knew his capability already,” says Chang.  “That definitely was a pretty big win for both of us at that stage. Obviously, a fair bit of notice that we’re both playing really well. I think that normally what happens is that you have a really big win and when you’re young, it’s easy to kind of have a letdown. You have a big win, and then the following match you play, it’s tough because of all the commotion; you received a lot of attention, a lot of accolades already, and a lot of times the next match you don’t play as well.”

Neither Chang nor Nadal suffered letdowns in the matches to follow. Chang capped off his dream run with a five-set win over Stefan Edberg in the final, while Nadal defeated unseeded Argentine Mariano Puerta, 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1, 7-5, to become just the second player since Mats Wilander in 1982 to win Roland Garros on debut.  “From a very young age, he was saying his dream was to win the French Open and you can see it,” says Chang. “Whenever he’s out on the red clay courts at Roland Garros, there is an extra fire, an extra intensity, if you can possibly see that in someone like Rafa.”

2006: Gustavo Kuerten On Being Defending Champion

Final, d. Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4)

Rafael Nadal returned to Paris in 2006 looking to become the first player to successfully defend the Roland Garros title since Gustavo Kuerten in 2000-01. The popular Brazilian had unexpectedly won the clay-court major for the first time as a 20 year old in 1997, in what was actually his first tour-level final, but fell to Marat Safin in the second round the following year.  On his 2001 defence, Kuerten entered as the World No. 1 and with 13 titles to his name, including the previous season’s Tennis Masters Cup. “I think that the difficulty is directly linked with the experience, especially in a Grand Slam,” he says of the difference between his two repeat bids. “In the ‘97-98 campaigns I didn’t have the sensation to deal with the title, to become a champion. In 2000-01, these characteristics had blossomed.”

Although he wouldn’t turn 20 until the end of Roland Garros that year, Nadal already showed those champion’s characteristics. The Spaniard had firmly established his foothold at No. 2 in the world and, in impressive fashion, as the man to beat on clay. His winning streak on the surface going into Paris stood at 53 matches - tying the record established by Guillermo Vilas 29 years earlier.  “He always seemed to me a spectacular tennis player; he is able to deal with competitiveness with maturity,” says Kuerten of Nadal’s ability to handle the added pressure of being the defending champion for the first time. “That's how Nadal won the tournament.”  Nadal eclipsed Vilas’ clay-court record with his straight-sets win over Robin Soderling in the first round, then defeated Kevin Kim, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Lleyton Hewitt, Novak Djokovic and Ivan Ljubicic to set up the highly anticipated Roger Federer showdown in the final.

The Swiss had not lost in seven Grand Slam finals up to that point, and was chasing history, attempting to become the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four major titles at the same time. His last loss in Grand Slam action had come against Nadal in the previous year’s semi-finals. Nadal, in fact, had won their past four meetings, including the two clay-court finals in Monte-Carlo and Rome.   “I always watched the challenges between Nadal and Federer, considering Nadal as the favourite,” admits Kuerten. 

Nadal’s title hopes appeared in danger early in the match as he dropped the first five games in a 1-6 first set, his worst set loss at Roland Garros to this day. He quickly turned the match around, coming up with his own 6-1 set to seize the momentum. He suffered a hiccup as he served for the victory at 5-4 in the fourth set, but held his nerve in the tie-break to become the youngest back-to-back Roland Garros champion since Bjorn Borg in 1974-75. “I consider it a typical final between two great champions,” says Kuerten. “That’s what a Grand Slam allows, a time for tennis players to find solutions. Nadal felt comfortable on the court; he found a formula to defeat Federer.”

2007: Carlos Moya On Playing Nadal

Final, d. Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

Rafael Nadal was 12 when he watched on television fellow Mallorcan Carlos Moya lift the Roland Garros trophy. Nine years later, the student and mentor would meet in the quarter-finals on a Wednesday afternoon on Court Philippe Chatrier.   Despite their special relationship, Moya admits he was not happy to be playing Nadal, wishing instead that he could’ve been in another part of the draw. “With Rafa on clay in best of five, it’s like a war,” he says. “You know that you are not going to go past that wall. That’s something that all of us know.”

Their previous five matches, of which Moya had won two, had been tighter affairs. But true to expectation, Nadal rolled past the 1998 champion 6-4, 6-3, 6-0 in just over two hours.  “It was very windy that day, and I didn’t have any chance really to win,” remembers Moya. “The first two sets were very big sets for me. I wasn’t like a break up or something where I could feel that I had a chance, not at all. I broke him back in the first set, and I realised how difficult it was. He was playing very, very deep, very confident.”  During that year’s run, Nadal was at his ruthless best. For the first time at Roland Garros, he did not drop a set en route to the championship match, disposing of Juan Martin del Potro, Flavio Cipolla, Albert Montanes, Lleyton Hewitt, Moya and Novak Djokovic in succession. Following his first-hand experience against Nadal in Paris, Moya had good reason to believe that he would once again win the title.

“You see in him something that you don’t see against any other player,” he says. “I could see if I play well against any player, I could have a chance to win at least, at least have it be a close match, but not against him. He forces you to play every single point; he doesn’t give you any free points. In best of five nobody can do that like him.”  ”For the second straight year, Nadal came up against Roger Federer in the final, with the Swiss once again gunning for a fourth straight Grand Slam title. In contrast to the previous year, however, Federer had won three of their past four meetings entering the match. One of those victories had come on the eve of Roland Garros, when Federer snapped the Spaniard’s 81-match winning streak on clay, conceding just two games to Nadal over the final two sets in Hamburg.  This time, Nadal coolly saved 16 of 17 break point chances as he went on to claim the 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win and his third Roland Garros title. 

“Before 2007, I was surprised how Nadal was beating Federer,” reflects Moya. “I don’t think 2005, 2006, that Nadal was better than Federer, even on clay. I thought it was more of a mental thing. But he was finding the right way to play Federer, to hurt him, to hurt his game.  “In 2007, I started to feel that Nadal was a better player than Federer on clay. That was the first year I felt that Rafa was controlling the match, controlling the point, and the way he was losing that set against Federer was because he was not playing at his best. When he was playing at his best, he was finding his way to beat Federer.”

Reflecting on Nadal’s achievements, Moya - now 35 and dominating the ATP Champions Tour - acknowledges that having the chance to go head-to-head with him at Roland Garros was also a privilege. “It was a good experience, on the other hand, to play him. He’s probably going to be the best tennis player ever who ever played Roland Garros. If he wins his seventh title this year, he’s going to be the best player on clay, so at least I can say I played him at that tournament.”

2008: Brad Gilbert On A Dominant Performance

Final, d. Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0

Rafael Nadal had long established himself as the favourite at Roland Garros, but no one could’ve anticipated how decisively he would win the title on his fourth go-around.  Brad Gilbert, who guided Andre Agassi to six Grand Slam titles including the 1999 Roland Garros triumph, had seen a number of great Grand Slam runs during his years as player and coach - and even he was awed by the Spaniard’s performance that year.  “The most amazing thing obviously is the guy comes in, three-time champion, and that was probably from start to finish his most dominant performance,” he says. “It just kind of had that feeling they’re just watching it from afar, that nobody had a shot the way he was playing at the moment.”

Nadal brushed aside his first five opponents - Thomaz Bellucci, Nicolas Devilder, Jarkko Nieminen, Fernando Verdasco and Nicolas Almagro - conceding a total of 25 games. His 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 win over Almagro, in fact, was the most one-sided Roland Garros quarter-final in the Open Era.  “I think he had guys so intimidated that they were 0-3 down walking out of the tunnel,” comments Gilbert. “Besides obviously his game itself, he just doesn’t give you anything. He makes you earn every single point. It’s a rare combination of unbelievable offense and defence.” Novak Djokovic had the best chance to take a set off of Nadal, extending the Spaniard to a tie-break in the third set of their semi-final match, but the defending champion built a 6-0 lead in the tie-break to quickly extinguish the Serbian’s hopes.

“He was playing unbelievable,” says Gilbert, who was in Paris for the semi-final match. “You got the feeling that even if Djokovic won that third, even if he had enough in the tank to go another set - obviously he’s a completely different player now - that he couldn’t win two more sets. I remember watching those matches; you were thinking it’d be an upset if someone wins a set, forget about someone winning three sets.”  The final, which featured World No. 1 Roger Federer versus World No. 2 Rafael Nadal for a third straight year, produced the most stunning result of all: a 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 rout of the Swiss. It would be Federer’s most lopsided loss in Grand Slam action.

Gilbert, who had been courtside when Agassi beat Federer with the loss of just seven games at the 2001 US Open, was floored as he watched the match from a hotel room in London. “I was like, this can’t be happening. Obviously the guy’s a great, great clay court player and he had him rattled and confused. My jaw was wide open at what I was seeing.  Rafa was pretty darn near invincible. Federer was maybe pressing a little bit, sensing the level Rafa was at. It was one of those things, like sometimes in a basketball game or a football game, three or four turnovers and it got away from him quickly. It wasn’t lack of effort or anything like that. Rafa was on his game, Federer was a little off, and he just was all over him that day.”

Nadal became the fifth player in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title without dropping a set, joining Ken Rosewall (1971 Australian Open), Ilie Nastase (1973 Roland Garros), Bjorn Borg (1978, 1980 Roland Garros; 1976 Wimbledon) and Federer (2007 Australian Open).  “They were just busting through the draw like butter,” says Gilbert. “The guy was the overwhelming favourite and he went out and did it. That’s what makes it even more impressive. You know how hard it is to repeat a major, and Nadal, he did it three times. Then to do it on his fourth and the most impressive the way he did it? That speaks volumes to how great the guy is.  “You didn’t think it was possible for anyone to be better than Borg on clay. Well, he probably is. Nadal and Borg, they’re like Picasso.”

2010: Mats Wilander On A Momentous Win

Final, d. Soderling 6-4, 6-2, 6-4

Rafael Nadal was no longer perfect in Paris, having lost to Sweden’s Robin Soderling in the Round of 16 the previous year. As fate would have it, the pair would meet again in 2010 - this time in the final.  Mats Wilander, who won his first of three Roland Garros titles on debut in 1982, regards that match as the most significant in Nadal’s six triumphs. “That one stands out to me because he changed his game after losing to Soderling in 2009 and came back in 2010 and had nearly as good a year as Djokovic in 2011,” he explains. “I think that was the first match where Nadal really stepped it up, and of course he won Wimbledon straight after and the US Open later. It was hard to predict that Nadal was on the brink of having his best year so far on tour before the final.”

Similar to his last three title runs at Roland Garros, Nadal had reached the championship match without losing a set. But of his first six opponents - Gianni Mina, Horacio Zeballos, Lleyton Hewitt, Thomaz Bellucci, Nicolas Almagro and Jurgen Melzer - none was ranked inside the Top 20 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings.   Soderling, then ranked No. 7 at the time, had ousted defending champion Roger Federer in the quarter-finals and outlasted Tomas Berdych in a five-set semi-final to reach the Roland Garros final for a second straight year.  Wilander gave the advantage to his fellow Swede ahead of the match. “I thought Soderling was the slight favorite going in,” he admits. “I did think that Soderling would beat him that time since he had beaten him the year before. He had come in and beaten Roger Federer, the defending champion. We also hadn’t seen the transformation of Nadal after that loss.”

Nadal had endured his share of struggles following his defeat to Soderling in 2009. Hampered by knee injuries, he went title-less for 10 months and dropped to No. 4 before breaking through in the spring to become the first player to sweep all three clay-court ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in the same season.  Similar to Wilander, who bounced back from a loss to Ivan Lendl in 1984 to defeat the Czech in the 1985 final, Nadal got retribution for the sole blemish on his Roland Garros record.  Back in familiar territory, playing for the Roland Garros title, Nadal dismissed Soderling 6-4, 6-2, 6-4. Afterwards, he buried his head in his towel and wept. The win guaranteed the Spaniard’s return to World No. 1, and began an impressive stretch in which Nadal went on to win Wimbledon for a second time and capture his first US Open title to complete the career Grand Slam.  “I think that win, that final against Robin Soderling, sort of got his career back on track,” says Wilander. “It was the match that made him believe that he’s not done and it transformed his game.”

2011: Andre Agassi On Nadal’s Clay Form

Final, d. Federer 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-1

Rafael Nadal’s confidence was somewhat shaken as he began his bid for a record-equaling sixth Roland Garros title in 2011. Although he was still ranked No. 1 in the world, he had lost two clay-court finals to Novak Djokovic in the month of May - both in straight sets.  To top it off, Nadal drew possibly the trickiest of first-round opponents in John Isner. The 6’9” American won the second and third set tie-breaks to put the five-time champion on the ropes, only to see the Spaniard step up and prevail in his first Roland Garros five-setter.  “Nadal ensures his opponents have to deal with a variety of spins, and his margin for error in these long rallies is incomprehensible,” explains Andre Agassi, who won the Roland Garros title in 1999 after runner-up finishes in 1990 and ’91. “He hits close to the lines to move his opponent around the court. He strikes his forehand so he puts it above his opponent’s shoulder and Nadal is consistently great in defence.  “That is why Nadal is so tricky to beat in five sets, especially at Roland Garros. He is like a boxer who constantly jabs. It totally wears an opponent down.”

With his match against Isner serving as a wake-up call, a vintage Nadal swept through his next matches against Pablo Andujar, Antonio Veic, Ivan Ljubicic, Robin Soderling and Andy Murray in straight sets. In the other half of the draw, Roger Federer took care of Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, putting an end to the Serbian’s 41-0 start to the season.   In the fourth Roland Garros final between the long-time rivals, Nadal once again emerged victorious, defeating Federer 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-1 in three hours and 40 minutes.  “Nadal’s dominance over the years is down to the fact that he has a number of advantages,” says Agassi. “He moves the best that anyone has moved on clay - and perhaps on any surface. Djokovic has closed the gap, improving his own movement, but Nadal has so many weapons on red dirt.  “Can Djokovic and Federer beat him at Roland Garros? Yes, of course they can, but they have to be at 100 per cent the whole match and take risks. The way Djokovic has hurt him in the past 18 months is by stepping into the court to take the ball early. It is a risky strategy and hard to do over a prolonged period in a match.”  With his victory over Federer, the 25-year-old Nadal matched Borg’s six Roland Garros crowns - a record many thought would never be touched.  “Rafael Nadal’s achievements at Roland Garros and on clay courts are right up there with the greatest in any era of tennis,” says Agassi.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Letter To Emily White At NPR All Songs Considered

(The Trichordist- Artists For An Ethical Internet, David Lowery [of the band Cracker], June 18, 2012)

 Recently Emily White, an intern at NPR All Songs Considered and GM of what appears to be her college radio station, wrote a post on the NPR blog (Richard’s note- It’s also included at the end of this post) in which she acknowledged that while she had 11,000 songs in her music library, she’s only paid for 15 CDs in her life. Our intention is not to embarrass or shame her. We believe young people like Emily White who are fully engaged in the music scene are the artist’s biggest allies. We also believe–for reasons we’ll get into–that she has been been badly misinformed by the Free Culture movement. We only ask the opportunity to present a countervailing viewpoint.

My intention here is not to shame you or embarrass you. I believe you are already on the side of musicians and artists and you are just grappling with how to do the right thing. I applaud your courage in admitting you do not pay for music, and that you do not want to but you are grappling with the moral implications. I just think that you have been presented with some false choices by what sounds a lot like what we hear from the “Free Culture” adherents.

I must disagree with the underlying premise of what you have written. Fairly compensating musicians is not a problem that is up to governments and large corporations to solve. It is not up to them to make it “convenient” so you don’t behave unethically. (Besides–is it really that inconvenient to download a song from iTunes into your iPhone? Is it that hard to type in your password? I think millions would disagree.)
Rather, fairness for musicians is a problem that requires each of us to individually look at our own actions, values and choices and try to anticipate the consequences of our choices. I would suggest to you that, like so many other policies in our society, it is up to us individually to put pressure on our governments and private corporations to act ethically and fairly when it comes to artists rights. Not the other way around. We cannot wait for these entities to act in the myriad little transactions that make up an ethical life. I’d suggest to you that, as a 21-year old adult who wants to work in the music business, it is especially important for you to come to grips with these very personal ethical issues.

I’ve been teaching college students about the economics of the music business at the University of Georgia for the last two years. Unfortunately for artists, most of them share your attitude about purchasing music. There is a disconnect between their personal behavior and a greater social injustice that is occurring. You seem to have internalized that ripping 11,000 tracks in your iPod compared to your purchase of 15 CDs in your lifetime feels pretty disproportionate. You also seem to recognize that you are not just ripping off the record labels but you are directly ripping off the artist and songwriters whose music you “don’t buy”. It doesn’t really matter that you didn’t take these tracks from a file-sharing site. That may seem like a neat dodge, but I’d suggest to you that from the artist’s point of view, it’s kind of irrelevant.
Now, my students typically justify their own disproportionate choices in one of two ways. I’m not trying to set up a “strawman”, but I do have a lot of anecdotal experience with this.  “It’s OK not to pay for music because record companies rip off artists and do not pay artists anything.” In the vast majority of cases, this is not true. There have been some highly publicized abuses by record labels. But most record contracts specify royalties and advances to artists. Advances are important to understand–a prepayment of unearned royalties. Not a debt, more like a bet. The artist only has to “repay” (or “recoup”) the advance from record sales. If there are no or insufficient record sales, the advance is written off by the record company. So it’s false to say that record companies don’t pay artists. Most of the time they not only pay artists, but they make bets on artists. And it should go without saying that the bets will get smaller and fewer the more unrecouped advances are paid by labels.

Secondly, by law the record label must pay songwriters (who may also be artists) something called a “mechanical royalty” for sales of CDs or downloads of the song. This is paid regardless of whether a record is recouped or not. The rate is predetermined, and the license is compulsory. Meaning that the file sharing sites could get the same license if they wanted to, at least for the songs. They don’t. They don’t wanna pay artists.
Also, you must consider the fact that the vast majority of artists are releasing albums independently and there is not a “real” record company. Usually just an imprint owned by the artist. In the vast majority of cases you are taking money directly from the artist. How does one know which labels are artist owned? It’s not always clear. But even in the case of corporate record labels, shouldn’t they be rewarded for the bets they make that provides you with recordings you enjoy? It’s not like the money goes into a giant bonfire in the middle of the woods while satanic priests conduct black masses and animal sacrifices. Usually some of that money flows back to artists, engineers and people like you who graduate from college and get jobs in the industry. And record labels also give your college radio stations all those CDs you play.

Artists can make money on the road (or its variant “Artists are rich”). The average income of a musician that files taxes is something like 35k a year w/o benefits. The vast majority of artists do not make significant money on the road. Until recently, most touring activity was a money losing operation. The idea was the artists would make up the loss through recorded music sales. This has been reversed by the financial logic of file-sharing and streaming. You now tour to support making albums if you are very, very lucky. Otherwise, you pay for making albums out of your own pocket. Only the very top tier of musicians make ANY money on the road. And only the 1% of the 1% makes significant money on the road. (For now.)
Over the last 12 years I’ve watched revenue flowing to artists collapse.

Recorded music revenue is down 64% since 1999.

Per capita spending on music is 47% lower than it was in 1973!!
The number of professional musicians has fallen 25% since 2000.

Of the 75,000 albums released in 2010 only 2,000 sold more than 5,000 copies. Only 1,000 sold more than 10,000 copies. Without going into details, 10,000 albums is about the point where independent artists begin to go into the black on professional album production, marketing and promotion.
On a personal level, I have witnessed the impoverishment of many critically acclaimed but marginally commercial artists. In particular, two dear friends: Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse) and Vic Chestnutt. Both of these artists, despite growing global popularity, saw their incomes collapse in the last decade. There is no other explanation except for the fact that “fans” made the unethical choice to take their music without compensating these artists.

Shortly before Christmas 2009, Vic took his life. He was my neighbor, and I was there as they put him in the ambulance. On March 6th, 2010, Mark Linkous shot himself in the heart. Anybody who knew either of these musicians will tell you that the pair suffered from addiction and depression. They will also tell you their situation was worsened by their financial situation. Vic was deeply in debt to hospitals and, at the time, was publicly complaining about losing his home. Mark was living in abject squalor in his remote studio in the Smokey Mountains without adequate access to the mental health care he so desperately needed.
I present these two stories to you not because I’m pointing fingers or want to shame you. I just want to illustrate that “small” personal decisions have very real consequences, particularly when millions of people make the decision not to compensate artists they supposedly “love”. And it is up to us individually to examine the consequences of our actions. It is not up to governments or corporations to make us choose to behave ethically. We have to do that ourselves.

Now, having said all that, I also deeply empathize with your generation. You have grown up in a time when technological and commercial interests are attempting to change our principles and morality. Rather than using our morality and principles to guide us through technological change, there are those asking us to change our morality and principles to fit the technological change–if a machine can do something, it ought to be done. Although it is the premise of every “machines gone wild” story since Jules Verne or Fritz Lang, this is exactly backwards. Sadly, I see the effects of this thinking with many of my students.

These technological and commercial interests have largely exerted this pressure through the Free Culture movement, which is funded by a handful of large tech corporations and their foundations in the US, Canada, Europe and other countries.* Your letter clearly shows that you sense that something is deeply wrong, but you don’t put your finger on it. I want to commend you for doing this. I also want to enlist you in the fight to correct this outrage. Let me try to show you exactly what is wrong. What it is you can’t put your finger on.
The fundamental shift in principals and morality is about who gets to control and exploit the work of an artist. The accepted norm for hundreds of years of western civilization is the artist exclusively has the right to exploit and control his/her work for a period of time. (Since the works that are almost invariably the subject of these discussions are popular culture of one type or another, the duration of the copyright term is pretty much irrelevant for an ethical discussion.) By allowing the artist to treat his/her work as actual property, the artist can decide how to monetize his or her work. This system has worked very well for fans and artists. Now we are being asked to undo this not because we think this is a bad or unfair way to compensate artists but simply because it is technologically possible for corporations or individuals to exploit artists work without their permission on a massive scale and globally. We are being asked to continue to let these companies violate the law without being punished or prosecuted. We are being asked to change our morality and principals to match what I think are immoral and unethical business models.

Who are these companies? They are sites like The Pirate Bay, or Kim Dotcom and Megaupload. They are “legitimate” companies like Google that serve ads to these sites through AdChoices and Doubleclick. They are companies like Grooveshark that operate streaming sites without permission from artists and over the objections of the artist, much less payment of royalties lawfully set by the artist. They are the venture capitalists that raise money for these sites. They are the hardware makers that sell racks of servers to these companies. And so on and so on.
What the corporate backed Free Culture movement is asking us to do is analogous to changing our morality and principles to allow the equivalent of looting. Say there is a neighborhood in your local big city. Let’s call it The ‘Net. In this neighborhood there are record stores. Because of some antiquated laws, The ‘Net was never assigned a police force. So in this neighborhood people simply loot all the products from the shelves of the record store. People know it’s wrong, but they do it because they know they will rarely be punished for doing so. What the commercial Free Culture movement (see the “hybrid economy”) is saying is that instead of putting a police force in this neighborhood we should simply change our values and morality to accept this behavior. We should change our morality and ethics to accept looting because it is simply possible to get away with it. And nothing says freedom like getting away with it, right?

But it’s worse than that. It turns out that Verizon, AT&T, Charter etc etc are charging a toll to get into this neighborhood to get the free stuff. Further, companies like Google are selling maps (search results) that tell you where the stuff is that you want to loot. Companies like Megavideo are charging for a high speed looting service (premium accounts for faster downloads). Google is also selling ads in this neighborhood and sharing the revenue with everyone except the people who make the stuff being looted. Further, in order to loot you need to have a $1,000 dollar laptop, a $500 dollar iPhone or $400 Samsumg tablet. It turns out the supposedly “free” stuff really isn’t free. In fact it’s an expensive way to get “free” music. (Like most claimed “disruptive innovations”it turns out expensive subsidies exist elsewhere.) Companies are actually making money from this looting activity. These companies only make money if you change your principles and morality! And none of that money goes to the artists!
And believe it or not this is where the problem with Spotify starts. The internet is full of stories from artists detailing just how little they receive from Spotify. I shan’t repeat them here. They are epic. Spotify does not exist in a vacuum. The reason they can get away with paying so little to artists is because the alternative is The ‘Net where people have already purchased all the gear they need to loot those songs for free. Now while something like Spotify may be a solution for how to compensate artists fairly in the future, it is not a fair system now. As long as the consumer makes the unethical choice to support the looters, Spotify will not have to compensate artists fairly. There is simply no market pressure. Yet Spotify’s CEO is the 10th richest man in the UK music industry ahead of all but one artist on his service.

So let’s go back and look at what it would have cost you to ethically and legally support the artists.

And I’m gonna give you a break. I’m not gonna even factor in the record company share. Let’s just pretend for your sake the record company isn’t simply the artist’s imprint and all record labels are evil and don’t deserve any money. Let’s just make the calculation based on exactly what the artist should make. First, the mechanical royalty to the songwriters. This is generally the artist. The royalty that is supposed to be paid by law is 9.1 cents a song for every download or copy. So that is $1,001 for all 11,000 of your songs. Now let’s suppose the artist has an average 15% royalty rate. This is calculated at wholesale value. Trust me, but this comes to 10.35 cents a song or $1,138.50. So to ethically and morally “get right” with the artists you would need to pay $2,139.50.
As a college student I’m sure this seems like a staggering sum of money. And in a way, it is. At least until you consider that you probably accumulated all these songs over a period of 10 years (5th grade). Sot that’s $17.82 dollars a month. Considering you are in your prime music buying years, you admit your life is “music centric” and you are a DJ, that $18 dollars a month sounds like a bargain. Certainly much much less than what I spent each month on music during the 4 years I was a college radio DJ.

Let’s look at other things you (or your parents) might pay for each month and compare.
Smart phone with data plan: $40-100 a month.

High speed internet access: $30-60 dollars a month. Wait, but you use the university network? Well, buried in your student fees or tuition you are being charged a fee on the upper end of that scale.
Tuition at American University, Washington DC (excluding fees, room and board and books): $2,086 a month.

Car insurance or Metro card? $100 a month?
Or simply look at the value of the web appliances you use to enjoy music:

$2,139.50 = 1 smart phone + 1 full size ipod + 1 macbook.
Why do you pay real money for this other stuff but not music?

The existential questions that your generation gets to answer are these:

Why do we value the network and hardware that delivers music but not the music itself?

Why are we willing to pay for computers, iPods, smartphones, data plans, and high speed internet access but not the music itself?
Why do we gladly give our money to some of the largest richest corporations in the world but not the companies and individuals who create and sell music?
This is a bit of hyperbole to emphasize the point. But it’s as if:

Networks: Giant mega corporations. Cool! Have some money!

Hardware: Giant mega corporations. Cool! Have some money!
Artists: 99.9 % lower middle class. Screw you, you greedy bastards!

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!
I am genuinely stunned by this. Since you appear to love first generation Indie Rock, and as a founding member of a first generation Indie Rock band I am now legally obligated to issue this order: kids, lawn, vacate.

You are doing it wrong.

Emily, I know you are not exactly saying what I’ve illustrated above. You’ve unfortunately stumbled into the middle of a giant philosophical fight between artists and powerful commercial interests. To your benefit, it is clear you are trying to answer those existential questions posed to your generation. And in your heart, you grasp the contradiction. But I have to take issue with the following statement:
As I’ve grown up, I’ve come to realize the gravity of what file-sharing means to the musicians I love. 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.

I’m sorry, but what is inconvenient about iTunes and, say, iTunes match (that lets you stream all your music to all your devices) aside from having to pay? Same with Pandora premium, MOG and a host of other legitimate services. I can’t imagine that any other legal music service that is gonna be simpler than these to use. Isn’t convenience already here!
Ultimately there are three “inconvenient” things that MUST happen for any legal service:

1.create an account and provide a payment method (once)

2.enter your password.

3. Pay for music.
So what you are really saying is that you won’t do these three things. This is too inconvenient. And I would guess that the most inconvenient part is….step 3.

That’s fine. But then you must live with the moral and ethical choice that you are making to not pay artists. And artists won’t be paid. And it won’t be the fault of some far away evil corporation. You “and your peers” ultimately bear this responsibility.
You may also find that this ultimately hinders your hopes of finding a job in the music industry. Unless you’re planning on working for free. Or unless you think Google is in the music industry–which it is not.

I also find all this sort of sad. 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. 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. 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.

At the start of this I did say that I hoped to convert you to actively helping musicians and artists. That ultimately someone like you, someone so passionately involved in music is the best ally that musicians could have. Let me humbly suggest a few things:
First, you could legally buy music from artists. The best way to insure the money goes to artists? Buy it directly from their website or at their live shows. But if you can’t do that, there is a wide range of services and sites that will allow you to do this conveniently. Encourage your “peers” to also do this.

Second, actively “call out” those that profit by exploiting artists without compensation. File sharing sites are supported by corporate web advertising. Call corporations out by giving specific examples. For instance, say your favorite artist is Yo La Tengo. If you search at Google “free mp3 download Yo La Tengo” you will come up with various sites that offer illegal downloads of Yo La Tengo songs. I clicked on a link to the site where I found You La Tengo’s entire masterpiece album I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass.
I also found an ad for Geico Insurance which appeared to have been serviced to the site by “Ads by Google”. You won’t get any response by writing a file sharing site. They already know what they are doing is wrong. However Geico might be interested in this. And technically, Google’s policy is to not support piracy sites, however it seems to be rarely enforced. The best way to write any large corporation is to search for the “investor’s relations” page. For some reason there is always a human being on the other end of that contact form. You could also write your Congressman and Senator and suggest they come up with some way to divert the flow of advertising money back to the artists.

And on that matter of the $2,139.50 you owe to artists? Why not donate something to a charity that helps artists. Consider this your penance. In fact I’ll make a deal with you. For every dollar you personally donate I’ll match it up to $500. Here are some suggestions.
Sweet Relief. This organization helps musicians with medical costs. Vic Chestnutt, who I mentioned earlier, was helped by this organization. I contributed a track to the Album Sweet Relief II:Gravity of the situation.

Music Cares. You can also donate to this charity run by the NARAS (the Grammys).
American Heart Association Memorial Donation. Or since you loved Big Star and Alex Chilton, why not make a donation to The American Heart Association in Alex Chilton’s name? (Alex died of a heart attack)

I’m open to suggestions on this.  I sincerely wish you luck in your career in the music business and hope this has been enlightening in some small way.

David Lowery


I Never Owned Any Music To Begin With

(By Emily White, NPR- All Things Considered blog, June 16, 2012)

A few days before my internship at All Songs Considered started, Bob Boilen posted an article titled "I Just Deleted All My Music" on this blog. The post is about entrusting his huge personal music library to the cloud. Though this seemed like a bold step to many people who responded to the article, to me, it didn't seem so bold at all.  I never went through the transition from physical to digital. I'm almost 21 and since I first began to love music I've been spoiled by the Internet.  I am an avid music-listener, concert-goer, and college radio DJ. My world is music-centric. I've only bought 15 CDs in my lifetime. Yet, my entire iTunes library exceeds 11,000 songs.  I wish I could say I miss album packaging and liner notes and rue the decline in album sales the digital world has caused. But the truth is, I've never supported physical music as a consumer. As monumental a role as musicians and albums have played in my life, I've never invested money in them aside from concert tickets and t-shirts.
But I didn't illegally download (most) of my songs. A few are, admittedly, from a stint in the 5th grade with the file-sharing program Kazaa. Some are from my family. I've swapped hundreds of mix CDs with friends. My senior prom date took my iPod home once and returned it to me with 15 gigs of Big Star, The Velvet Underground and Yo La Tengo (I owe him one).  During my first semester at college, my music library more then tripled. I spent hours sitting on the floor of my college radio station, ripping music onto my laptop. The walls were lined with hundreds of albums sent by promo companies and labels to our station over the years.

All of those CDs are gone. My station's library is completely digital now and so is my listening experience.  If my laptop died and my hard-drive disappeared tomorrow, I would certainly mourn the loss of my 100+ playlists, particularly the archives of all my college radio shows. But I'd also be able to re-build my "library" fairly easily. If I wanted to listen to something I didn't already have in my patchwork collection, I could stream it on Spotify.  As I've grown up, I've come to realize the gravity of what file-sharing means to the musicians I love. 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. 
What I want is one massive Spotify-like catalog of music that will sync to my phone and various home entertainment devices. With this new universal database, everyone would have convenient access to everything that has ever been recorded and performance royalties would be distributed based on play counts (hopefully with more money going back to the artist than the present model). All I require is the ability to listen to what I want, when I want and how I want it. Is that too much to ask?

Emily White is this summer's All Songs Considered intern. She is a senior at American University in Washington D.C. and the General Manager of WVAU.