The music grows faint

If I had to use a word to apply to the internet it would be ‘freedom’ – the easy and seamless access to information, google answers that lead to more questions, time lost and online anonymity. The internet has empowered the user; and with it questioned services and goods that had previously ascribed monetary value. The music industry being a case in point; and the subject of today’s post.

I struggle when it comes to the “£0.99” button on itunes – deliberating whether the song is worth it, and equally questioning my music taste, alongside Apple’s universal-but-with-a-new-currency-sign prices (a pet peeve). However, with music so easily available online, the idea of paying for it seems more distant and my mouse can often be found hovering perilously in the “free” and “cheap” domains of Google, as well as frequently on sites like Spotify and Grooveshark (a particular favourite). As such, I am very much in the audience of the “musical stinge” – a person easily swayed by the size and choice provided online, to the extent that content and quality get neglected like an ancient hamster. In other words, I need telling off; and here Rolling Stone Germany step in.

Working alongside the Money for Music project, the magazine commissioned a print advertising campaign that challenged readers and listeners to pay for the music they download. Created by Ogilvy Frankfurt, the creative centred around the idea of sound construed visually – iconic covers growing faint to suggest a decline in sound quality, musicians’ revenues and ultimately music itself. Five classic rock album covers or sleeves – covering Pink Floyd to the Beatles, were presented in highly deteriorated condition, the result of continual copying and recopying. I find the images absorbing and intriguing in their cultural references – a nostalgic fondness for album art and rock legends, tied with a concern for the industry’s future. The result being a strong desire to raid a relative’s CD selection. As such, potentially download-stopping work (the campaign won a Cannes Press Lion in 2011), only let down by the accompanying text…

“Copy on. And one day all those legendary albums will disappear. And the great bands. And all the gifted young musicians. How are they supposed to make a living when everyone downloads their work for free? Support us:“.


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