Quotes from Ian MacKaye’s Library of Congress talk

A few weeks ago we reported that The Evens guitarist / vocalist Ian MacKaye would be speaking at the Library of Congress in regards to digital archiving. MacKaye gave his lecture this past Tuesday, May 7, and (as expected) the Internet has already compiled some choice quotes from the Dischord Records co-founder’s speech.

We’ve put up our four favorite quotes below, but you can read the full collection of quotes here.

On the Role of Record Labels:
“Record labels sell plastic. That’s what they sell. They’re not evil, they’re not bad. I have a record label. The plastic they sell has become more attractive to you — or to the buyer — because of the information that has been infused into it. It’s essentially the same as the difference between having a baseball cap that’s blank, or having one that has the Washington Nationals ‘W’ on it. Why you would pay more for the Nationals one is because the hat maker — in theory, at least — is paid to have the rights to put this ‘W’ on the hat.”

On How the Internet Has Impacted the Record Industry:
“They enjoyed a hundred-year monopoly, and then the Internet came along and screwed things up for them. But they’re still trying to figure out how to erect the tollbooths. And they’ll do it, because they’ve got Congress on their side. It’s just for those of us who don’t want to engage in that to figure out how to get around their silly tollbooths.”

On File Sharing:
“Every song I ever wrote, I wrote to be heard. So, if I was given a choice that 50 years from now I could either have a dollar or knowing that some kid was listening to my song, I’d go with the kid listening to my song.”

On the Definition of Punk:
“People ask me: ‘What is punk? How do you define punk?’ Here’s how I define punk: It’s a free space. It could be called jazz. It could be called hip-hop. It could be called blues, or rock, or beat. It could be called techno. It’s just a new idea. For me, it was punk rock. That was my entrance to this idea of the new ideas being able to be presented in an environment that wasn’t being dictated by a profit motive.”


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  1. 5/9/2013 11:57 AM | Permalink

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