On Friday, the Future of Music Coalition, a musicians’ advocacy group, published a blog post taking issue with some of the arguments and data from my Aug. 23 cover story in the magazine, “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t.” I take their comments very seriously for several reasons: First, their concerns — that musicians be appropriately compensated in this digital age — are my concerns. Second, they have assembled some important studies of the new economics emerging in the music business, many of which I drew upon in writing the article. And finally, they’re a terrific organization doing important work.
The overarching problem that the F.M.C. has with the article is the macronarrative that musicians are doing slightly better than they were in the pre-Napster era, and that there are more people creating and performing music for a living. That criticism seems to be built out of two related objections: 1) that the essential question of whether musicians are faring better is unknowable, given the limitations of the data sets; and 2) that the data we included were cherry-picked to advance an “agenda” or thesis of positive growth in the music industry.