Et Tu, T-Bone Burnett?

T-Bone says: “In that way, we’re becoming puppets. We’re becoming marionettes that have these electronic strings attached.” I say, bollocks. 

Marionettes

T-Bone Burnett is one of the more visible voices out there bemoaning the demonism of the big tech boogeyman, and his umbrage is uniquely distasteful given the extent to which he seems driven to simultaneously exult the purported nobility of artists.

I am referring, of course, to this drivel, distributed to us by the PBS News Hour:

WATCH: ‘Artists are our only hope,’ T Bone Burnett says in critique of big tech

Really? Artist like U2, who literally digitally force-fed us a new album? Artists like the oh so rebellious Radiohead and Trent Reznor, who loudly sung their own praises for having given music away for free online?

Please.

Listen, Burnett’s right in a way, but not in the way he thinks.

TBoneThere’s an easy solution. Don’t use Facebook. Don’t use Google. That’s the power of the consumer. The power of the purse. If we don’t give them our money and our attention, they change, or they go away.

At the end of the day, Burnett’s self-inflating polemic is just another tiresome instance of a musician blaming someone else for the problems we ourselves have wrought. Facebook doesn’t pay themselves. We pay them. Spotify doesn’t pay themselves. We pay them.  

T-Bone says: “In that way, we’re becoming puppets. We’re becoming marionettes that have these electronic strings attached.” Bollocks. Those strings are easy to remove. Don’t use those services. If those strings remain in place, it’s our fault. Not theirs.

He blames YouTube and Google for, “returning between nothing and a small fraction of that money to the owners of the material posted on their platform.” But nowhere does he acknowledge the culpability of the artists who PUT their music on those platforms. That content didn’t get there by itself. If you don’t like a product or a company, don’t use it. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

At the end of the day, it’s all OUR fault. But that’s also good news because that means WE can also change things. Stop blaming the big tech boogeyman, and start behaving yourself by putting your money and your time where your values are. That’s the only true solution.


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