As sure as dark clouds gather in hurricane season, a storm is brewing around artist compensation. Art and technology are at odds. However, it wasn’t always that way.
From the advent of cassette multitracks in the ’80s, to the arrival of digital multitracks in the ’90s, to the maturation of digital audio workstations in the ’00s, affordable, cutting-edge technology enabled recording artists to seize the means of production. The rise of the internet enabled them to marshal the means of distribution. Without those home studios, without a free internet, artists would still be trying to catch the ear of some well-connected impresario who could foot the bill for commercial studio time and old-media publicity. It’s a plain fact: thanks to technology, producing and distributing music is a lot easier than it used to be. And artists have reaped the benefits.