The way copyright law is written doesn’t reflect the “rip, mix, burn kind of scenario” that is the modern age.
Question: How do you consume music?
DJ Spooky: In massive volumes. Again, as a DJ you have to be current and keep aware of what is going on and that means you know just massive amounts of information, so a DJ is kind of obsessive about information. I tend to think that if you look at Michael Jackson he is called the King of Pop precisely because he had millions and millions of people listening to the same record, or same songs. If you play “Billie Jean” for example everybody knows that. Even in India or Nepal or the most remote parts of Timbuktu you know people know that song, so millions of people listen to that. I’m the opposite, where it is like instead of millions of people listening to the same song it’s millions of songs being scratched and spliced and diced and you have to keep track of it all. So it’s like an information ocean or data cloud. You know there is… I think iTunes now has passed its several billionth download you know, so think of all those people. It’s the biggest record store in the world, and, amusingly enough to me, again as a deejay and artist the top selling album of all time right now is the blank CD you know so, you know, it’s number one on every chart.
Question: Should digital content be free?
DJ Spooky: I’m a big pro-open source, pro-creative commons kind of artist. I think that it’s important to realize that copyright law as it is written relates mainly to the 18th century’s relationship to physical goods. And as things move more and more to a digital media, hyper-connected world we need to transform the models of how we think of ownership. Copyright law is something I respect, but the way the law is written versus the way we live in this rip, mix, burn kind of scenario, you know... It’s all about I think thinking of digital music as the kind of new folk culture where everyone should share, and by sharing they create a more rich and robust, you know, narrative.
Question: Even if they’re downloading your music?
DJ Spooky: Yeah, sure, but I get value out of that. I get a different kind of value. You get branding. You get advertising. You get word-of-mouth viral marketing. Hey, you know you couldn’t pay for that.
Recorded on April 8, 2010